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East Chicago police searching for older model Chevy SUV in connection with bank robbery

FBI agent enters East Chicago branch First Merchants Bank following an armed robbery Saturday. | Mike Nolan/Sun-Times Media

FBI agent enters East Chicago branch of First Merchants Bank following an armed robbery Saturday. | Mike Nolan/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 2, 2014 6:27AM



East Chicago Police are searching for an older model Chevy sport utility vehicle in connection with a bank robbery Saturday that ended with shots fired at police.

According to a news release, the SUV is from the 1990s, dark blue and sporting custom rims. The vehicle, which may be a Suburban or a Tahoe, may be registered in Illinois, police said.

Police said the SUV is connected with the bank robbery at First Merchants Bank, 4740 Indianapolis Blvd., about 11 a.m. Saturday, when a man and a woman entered the busy bank. The man jumped over the teller counter, and the woman ordered everyone down on the ground.

The couple, who both were wearing masks, fled in the SUV, police say. A bystander tracked the vehicle until an officer started following it south on Baring Avenue. At one point, a passenger in the SUV got out and began firing at the officer, who had to pull over. The same thing happened when a second officer started following the car, police said.

Police eventually lost the SUV around 149th and Walnut streets.

The suspects were described as being 25 to 30 years old and wearing hoodies with scarves covering their faces. The woman was wearing a red hoodie and a scarf with flowers. The man was described as wearing a dark, possibly gray, hoodie with a light-colored striped scarf.

“I have 32 years with the FBI. This is very unusual,” East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker said Saturday. “The robbery, first of all, was armed and then to have shots fired makes it elevated. But to stop the vehicle and get out like you want to engage the police, that is very brazen, very unusual. I have never heard of that in my 32 years.”

Police recovered shell casings from what appeared to be an automatic weapon at both sites. Becker said officers did not return fire because the chase took place in a residential neighborhood.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Angelo Machuca at (219) 433-1628 or Special Agent Mike Peasely at (219) 713-6016.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media



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