Gary man charged in Saturday’s carjacking, bank robbery in Merrillville
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com August 14, 2012 7:56PM
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:23AM
Merrillville police have arrested one man accused of carjacking a Schererville couple and robbing a bank on Saturday afternoon.
Christopher Bernard Anderson, 36, of 3466 Johnson St., Gary, is charged with five counts of robbery, a Class B felony, and one count of auto theft, a Class D felony.
Detective Jeff Snemis said police were still searching for a second suspect.
Around 4:15 p.m., a man in a ski mask and blue hooded sweatshirt approached a Schererville couple who were at Independence Park on 73rd Avenue, chatting in their cars before work. He asked for a ride, but the woman repeatedly refused to give him a ride. He pulled a gun from his sweatpants, and then the man gave the suspect the keys to his silver Ford Escort. The masked man demanded the couple’s cell phones, then told them he was going to the nearby Strack and Van Til store, 7201 Taft St. The suspect told them they would find the car and their cell phones there in 20 minutes.
The suspect headed to the First Midwest Bank branch inside the grocery store, where he demanded money and pointed his gun at a teller. He told the tellers to put the money in a bag and they complied. The man got into the stolen Ford, but several red dye packs exploded. He then exited the car, heading for the parking lot of the nearby Admiral gas station on Taft Street.
He got into the passenger seat of a black Chevrolet Impala, and the driver headed north into Gary. A witness at the gas station thought he looked suspicious and proceded to follow the car. His wife wrote down the license plate number, registered to Anderson, and called police.
Around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Anderson approached a police officer working security at Broadway Plaza in the 5300 block of Broadway, in Merrillville, saying he was carjacked at the Admiral gas station at gunpoint earlier in the day, but his description of events and the evidence did not pass muster, Snemis said.
Anderson claimed he was nowhere near 25th Avenue and Colfax Street, where the witnesses had written down his license plate number.