Two charged in rash of suburban ATM holdups

 
 
Updated 4/1/2016 8:56 AM

Two Fox Valley men accused of armed holdups at several suburban ATMs and a gas station last fall were caught because one of them didn't turn off his cell phone.

According to court records, federal investigators connected a rash of ATM robberies at suburban Chase Bank branches to 21-year-old Kenneth Hayes of Carpentersville after discovering his phone was active in the vicinity of each ATM during the times of the holdups.

 

Authorities said Hayes admitted to holdups at two other ATMs and an Elmhurst gas station in hopes of receiving sentencing leniency, but authorities said "no promises have been made" to him. Federal authorities say distinctive clothing that many victims said one of the robbers wore and was seen on surveillance videos was confiscated when Hayes was arrested following a traffic stop in November.

Antonio Dunner, 22, of Elgin is facing similar armed robbery charges after authorities discovered text messages between Hayes and Dunner they say plotted the holdups at the bank branches and a gas station.

Ultimately, a federal grand jury indicted the two men Wednesday on charges involving holdups at five ATMs and the Elmhurst gas station. Hayes was accused of brandishing the handgun during the robberies, according to court papers.

Federal investigators began closing in on the pair in early October. According to court records, on Oct. 9, FBI agents sought cell tower records for phone numbers active near robbery sites after piecing together patterns of the ATM robberies, including video footage and victim statements about a distinctive hooded sweatshirt worn by one of the robbers. A search of the cell tower records revealed a single phone number active at the robbery sites, according to the records. On Oct. 30, a judge granted FBI agents permission to track the phone's whereabouts. Agents monitored the phone's location between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, which resulted in a peculiar revelation: It was in police custody in Carpentersville.

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It turns out Hayes had been arrested shortly after committing the gas station robbery on drug charges following a routine traffic stop, according to court papers and Kane County records.

Authorities said Hayes began cooperating with them after being confronted with the evidence.

Court records reveal that Hayes admitted to committing two ATM robberies by himself on Aug. 19 in Elgin and Sept. 12 in Carpentersville. He told authorities Dunner asked to participate in future robberies after learning about Hayes' activities, the records show. Additionally, Hayes admitted he and Dunner perpetrated holdups of customers using Chase Bank drive-through ATMs at branches in Glen Ellyn on Sept. 16; Northbrook and Park Ridge on Sept. 23; Arlington Heights on Sept. 28 and Oct. 19; and another Northbrook branch on Oct. 8, court documents show.

Hayes also told investigators about the pair's final tandem robbery of the Elmhurst gas station on Nov. 1, according to the federal complaint against Dunner. Authorities had an account of the plan through text messages the two men sent each other prior to committing the robbery, the federal documents show.

The victim of the gas station robbery told investigators that he was closing the gas station for the night and walking to his car when he was approached by two men wearing dark clothes and masks. The victim said one robber displayed a handgun and forced the victim back into the store where he was told to empty the cash register of roughly $350, according to federal records.

A few hours after the gas station robbery, Hayes was pulled over by police in Carpentersville for a traffic violation. Police said Hayes admitted to "having just smoked marijuana" and was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of drugs. The distinctive hooded sweatshirt seen in surveillance videos and described by robbery victims was found in the glove compartment.

In addition, investigators from Arlington Heights, Elgin, Northbrook, Glen Ellyn, Park Ridge and Elmhurst provided substantial assistance, federal authorities said.

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