Police chase, nab bank robbery suspect

By R. Scott Lohman

Following a high-speed chase that reached speeds of almost 100 mph, DeKalb Police arrested a man Friday in connection with a robbery at First Financial Bank, 305 E. Locust St.

Frederick Mitchell, 21, whose last known address was 2823 E. 76th St., Chicago, was arrested by DeKalb Police and charged with the bank robbery. Mitchell will be turned over to the FBI and faces felony charges of federal bank robbery.

First Financial Bank, formerly United Federal, was robbed at 10:18 a.m. Friday.

Mitchell was spotted on Interstate 88 heading east and a pursuit ensued by DeKalb Police and Illinois State Police.

DeKalb Police Chief Donald Berke said police cars scattered throughout DeKalb. He also said DeKalb Police Lt. Bob McMorrow headed east on the interstate at a “pretty good pace” and located a vehicle which matched the description of the getaway vehicle. The vehicle was a red Nissan which was reported stolen earlier Friday in Chicago.

The suspect generally met the description and the chase began about six miles east of DeKalb, Berke said. Two Illinois State Police joined the chase.

At that time, Mitchell attempted to turn the vehicle around to head back toward DeKalb. Berke said Mitchell ultimately drove the vehicle into a guard rail and came to a stop. Police then apprehended Mitchell. The vehicle was turned over to the FBI for investigation.

Berke said Mitchell is a prime suspect in the March 3, 1992 and Dec. 21, 1992 robberies of the same bank. The descriptions are about the same in each of the three robberies. At this time it is unknown if Mitchell will be charged with either of the first two robberies.

Employees of the bank said a threat of violence was made during the Friday robbery. In the first two robberies, the suspect might have been armed or a weapon was displayed.

Berke would not comment on the amount of money taken in each of the three robberies.

The suspect has a police history, Berke added.

Mitchell will have a bond hearing at 2 p.m. today in the U.S. District Court in Rockford.

Jan Wilhelm, supervisor in the Rockford office of the FBI, congratulated the DeKalb Police Department for the excellent work they did in this case. This was “a fine example of good law enforcement,” Wilhelm said.

In an unrelated incident last January, Mitchell was involved in an aggravated battery. Mitchell was the victim of a stabbing which took place at Bromley Hall, 830 Edgebrook Drive, DeKalb.