Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Wigged Bank Robber Gets Caught in Duct, Gets Cut Out by Cops

Charles Estrell

Charles Estrell

Bank Robber Charles Estrell, 38, was caught on security camera around 2 p.m. Saturday, wearing a beaded wig, robbing a suburban Chicago bank. According to employees he lowered himself through the ceiling and confronted them in the vault. Estrell brandished a handgun and said “I don’t want to kill or hurt you. I just want the money.” He zip-tied their hands, then took $100,000 in a back pack, and made his getaway back through the ceiling.

It took ten hours of searching, but authorities continued looking for Estrell into the wee hours of the morning. Their persistence finally paid off Sunday around 1 a.m. when they found him in an adjacent building stuck in an air duct. reports that Estrell had apparently made it from the bank, on to the roof of the shopping center next door, and into its system of air ducts, where he wedged himself in so tightly that agents had to cut him out of the duct to arrest him, and yes, they had to get the wig off him first.

Estrell was charged with one felony count of bank robbery and could face up to 20 years if convicted.

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