Local Police Reports

Chicago FBI: Two Arrested Following South Holland Bank Robbery and High-Speed Chase

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)– Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was joined today by Warren Millsaps, Chief of the South Holland, Illinois Police Department (SHPD), in announcing the arrest of two Oklahoma men in connection with the armed robbery yesterday morning of the First National Bank of South Holland, located at 200 West 162nd Street in the south suburb.

The two men, identified as JOHN R. GOWER, age 46, of Fairview, Oklahoma, and PATRICK R. MARTIN, age 30, of Ada, Oklahoma, were arrested yesterday morning by Officers of the SHPD, assisted by Troopers from the Illinois State Police and officers from a dozen local police departments, following a high-speed chase and shoot-out that ended when the robbers crashed their car on the southbound lanes of Interstate 394 near Sauk Trail Road.

Both men were charged in a criminal complaint filed earlier today in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of Aggravated Bank Robbery, which is a felony offense. According to the complaint, the bank manager received a telephone call shortly after 10:00 a.m. from an anonymous caller, who claimed that a bomb had been placed in the bank. The caller then said that a man dressed in a suit would be entering the bank shortly and he was to be given $200,000 or the bomb would be detonated.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., an individual described by witnesses as a white/male, dressed in a black suit and wearing a ski mask and gloves, entered the bank. This individual, subsequently identified as MARTIN, said that he was there for the money. He was armed with a handgun and disarmed a security guard, who was stationed in the lobby. MARTIN then asked the manager to take him to the bank vault, but was told that it was on a time-delayed lock and could not be opened for 15 minutes. Martin then waited with the bank managers and employees, until the vault opened.

After the vault door opened, MARTIN allegedly ordered a bank employee to fill with cash, two cream colored canvas bank bags that were nearby. MARTIN then fled the bank with approximately $95,000 in cash and was seen entering a burgundy colored minivan that was parked nearby. The vehicle then fled the area at a high rate of speed, with MARTIN driving and a second individual, later identified as GOWER, seated in the front passenger seat. No injuries were reported during the robbery.

A witness to the robbery, who was outside the bank, noticed the suspicious activity and called the SHPD. The witness then followed the get-away vehicle, providing both the license plate number and updates on direction of travel to the responding SHPD officers. The vehicle was eventually located but attempts to conduct a traffic stop were unsuccessful. The minivan continued to flee the pursuing officers, who were joined by officers from numerous surrounding police departments, taking them on a high-speed chase which eventually ended when the minivan crashed into a patrol car from the Sauk Village, Illinois Police Department and careened into a stopped motor home. During the course of the chase, gunfire was exchanged between the occupants of the minivan and pursuing police officers.

MARTIN and GOWER were arrested at the scene of the crash, after being treated for minor injuries. A Sauk Village Police Officer, whose patrol car was involved in the crash, was treated for injuries at a local hospital and released. No additional injuries were reported during either the chase or crash.

A sweep of the bank building and surrounding area by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad failed to find any explosive devices.

Subsequent investigation by the FBI and SHPD developed additional evidence, linking the two men to the robbery and leading to the filing of the criminal charges announced today. This additional investigation determined that MARTIN and GOWER traveled to the Chicago area for the express purpose of robbing banks and had apparently planned the robbery for several months.

In announcing these arrests, Mr. Grant praised the Officers of South Holland Police Department, along with those from the numerous other south suburban departments who assisted in the chase, for their prompt response to an emergency service call, which led to the apprehension of two armed and dangerous robbery suspects. Said Mr. Grant, “The bravery and dedication displayed yesterday by the men and women of the south suburban police departments involved in this arrest is typical of the efforts displayed daily by our law enforcement partners nationwide. The citizens of Chicago’s south suburbs should be proud to have officers of such remarkable character serving their community.”

MARTIN and GOWER appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in Chicago, earlier today, at which time they were formally charged. Both men were ordered held without bond, pending their next court appearance, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7th at 2:00 p.m. Until then, they will be housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charges filed against them, MARTIN and GOWER face a possible sentence of 25 years’ to life incarceration.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.