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Search for bank robber continues

Authorities looking for suspect, 'person of interest'

June 30, 2010 | 08:36 AM
Pell Lake — At about 9:56 a.m. Thursday, June 24, a man entered First Banking Center, N1264 Park Road, wearing sunglasses, a bandana over his face and dark-colored clothes. He demanded money and entry into the bank vault.

He took an undisclosed amount of money and fled the scene with two bank employees inside the vault.

On Monday, Bloomfield Police Chief Steve Cole said the suspect remains at large, but he's just one of two people being sought by town police, the Walworth County Sheriff's Department and the FBI.

In addition to releasing a photo obtained from a bank video camera, Bloomfield police also are working off a composite sketch of someone Cole called a "person of interest" related to the case.

"We're just looking to talk to this person," Cole said. "This is not a suspect at this time."

The man who robbed First Banking center in Pell Lake still remains at large.
According to police, the actual suspect appeared to be Caucasian, between 6-foot and 6-foot-3 and of slender to medium build. In addition to the sunglasses and bandana, he wore a dark-colored baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt; black cargo-style pants; and black boots.

Although the suspect remains at large and left two employees inside the bank vault for what Cole estimated was "less than 15 minutes," he said there is no cause for additional public concern. No one reported any injuries during the incident.

"The bank staff cooperated with his requests and there wasn't any weapon implied or displayed," Cole said.

On June 24, in addition to working with the FBI and the Sheriff's Department, town police were assisted by officers from Genoa City. The investigation involved roadblocks and an increased police presence throughout the area during the middle of the day.

Cole said since he became the town police chief in 2001, First Banking Center has been robbed twice.

However, it's not the only recent robbery in Pell Lake.

Two in jail after robbery, theft

According to Bloomfield police, Kenneth T. Cotton, 27, and Edgar Manuel Lopez, 23, were extradited from McHenry County Jail in Illinois after two incidents in Pell Lake.

Cotton and Lopez were cited for robbery with use of force, theft and disorderly conduct. The robbery and disorderly conduct citations stem from an incident June 19 at 5 p.m. at Lakeside Country Store, N1457 Orchid Drive. The theft citations are from an incident in which someone took a donation jar June 15 at 5:29 p.m. from Pell Lake Mobil, W1203 Park Road.

According to Bloomfield police reports, the men entered Lakeside June 19. Cotton grabbed a pack of cigarettes and bearhugged the store clerk while Lopez attempted to open the cash register. Then, Cotton released the clerk and used a key behind the counter to try to open the register. Both men were unsuccessful. They were seen fleeing the store parking lot toward Pell Lake Drive in a green Dodge Dakota pickup with silver striping on the side panels.

Later, they were pulled over by police in Richmond, Ill., who found the pack of cigarettes inside the vehicle after a traffic stop. Cotton and Lopez matched the description given to Bloomfield police by witnesses of the robbery.

At McHenry County Jail, both men admitted their involvmenet in the robbery to a Bloomfield officer.

They also were connected to the June 15 theft of a donation jar at Pell Lake Mobil, which contained an undetermined amount of cash.

According to Bloomfield police, a witness reported a man in a dark jeans shirt and a baseball cap paid for filling up with gas "a green truck with silver down the sides." A short time later, that vehicle was parked in a stall in front of the windows of the gas station. A subject in a hat, a dark hoodie and jeans looked at some products in the store section, then at the posting board. The jar was on a table underneath the board. A witness saw the subject grab the jar with his left hand, run out of the store and enter the passenger side of the vehicle, which sped off west on Park Road "at a high rate of speed, squealing its tires."

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