'The heat is on' on 'Bundled Bandits': Experts try to decipher suburban bank robberies

Waving handguns, shattering a glass door, jumping on a counter - the brazen actions of the "Bundled Bandits" have prompted the FBI to offer a $20,000 reward for information on two men suspected in a series of suburban bank robberies.

Now authorities are trying to identify the duo, who use masks and hoodies to conceal their faces, before they strike again.

The crimes started June 10 and last occurred July 28 at BMO Harris branches in the South and West suburbs.

Why BMOs? It's not a random choice, criminologists think.

"There's a wide range of reasons," said John Millner, a former Elmhurst police chief and state senator.

"Maybe they're picking BMOs because one once worked at a BMO. And they have protocols in place, so they know what BMO employees will do because that's how they're trained."

Retired Chicago police Cmdr. Marc Buslik noted that "you don't just decide to go start robbing banks. These guys probably had some experience with street robberies, maybe some kind of commercial robberies, and then decided to hit the banks.

"My best guess is that they know somebody who worked at one of the BMO banks, or they were a customer and saw how the banks operated."

As far as a pattern regarding where and when the heists happen, that's difficult to read, experts said.

The first three robberies were on Saturdays: June 10 in Matteson, June 17 in Frankfort and July 1 in Bolingbrook. But two others occurred on Wednesday, July 19, in Naperville and on Friday, July 21, in Addison.

On Friday, July 28, the suspects tried to enter a Woodridge BMO branch and found the door locked as bank officials tightened security. They ordered a guard to open up, then likely kicked or punched the glass, shattering it, and fled, the FBI said.

Although Matteson and Frankfort are in the South suburbs, it's a long haul to Addison in DuPage County, said Millner, director of government relations for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

"There's no way that I can see them predicting where the next hit will be," Millner said.

Regarding the suspects' origins, "my guess is because they're probably somewhat familiar with the first one or two (banks), they're probably from the suburbs," said Buslik, a University of Illinois at Chicago criminology lecturer.

"And once they got lucky, they said, 'OK, where else are these banks?'" Buslik said.

Authorities said the pair either brandished or implied they had weapons in the robberies. Video from the Addison robbery shows both men displaying guns and one jumping on a counter.

Bank robbers typically don't follow the Bonnie and Clyde pattern of extreme violence, Millner said, adding that many are abusing drugs.

"With bank robbers, it's risk versus reward," Millner said. "Even though it's very risky behavior, they know they're probably not going to hurt anybody, they're probably not going to get hurt themselves. (They) don't want to get caught; it's in and out, and they're gone."

It's been over a week since the last sighting of the suspects in Woodridge.

"They know the heat is on them," Buslik said. "Clearly, the FBI's got their messaging out there. My guess is they're figuring, 'Maybe we better lay low.'"

Both suspects were identified as 25 to 30 years old. On Wednesday, the FBI described one man as 6 feet or taller, about 160 pounds and wearing a black hoodie, black pants, a black mask and carrying a black semi-automatic handgun. The second man was wearing a dark hoodie, a green reflective construction vest and a mask.

Anyone with information can report tips to or (800) CALL-FBI.

BMO Harris branch in Naperville robbed

Armed pair rob bank in Addison

  A BMO Harris Bank in Downers Grove has tightened security by locking doors, as have other locations. But "branches and ATMs are open and available to serve our customers," bank officials said. Brian Hill/
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