Man, 73, charged with robbing Niles bank
A surveillance image provided by the Chicago FBI shows a man, now identified as Walter Unbehaun, 73, robbing a Niles bank on Feb. 9.
Updated: April 15, 2013 2:11AM
NILES — An elderly South Carolina man with a prior bank robbery conviction was arrested Sunday afternoon, the day after he allegedly showed a gun to a Niles bank teller and fled with more than $4,000.
The FBI and Niles police arrested 73-year-old Walter Unbehaun outside a North Chicago motel after receiving tips from individuals who had seen media coverage of the robbery, according to a statement from the FBI.
Unbehaun was charged with one count of bank robbery for the Feb. 9 incident at the BMO Harris Bank branch, 7077 W. Dempster St. in Niles.
Unbehaun, of Rock Hill, S.C., drove to the bank, entered carrying a cane, and handed a teller a note written on a Harris Bank transaction slip announcing a robbery and demanding money, the FBI said.
A criminal complaint filed Monday claims Unbehaun also verbally demanded money and told the teller, “This is a hold up. I have nothing to lose. Give me the money in the drawer.” He then opened his jacket to show a handgun in the waistband of his pants, the FBI said.
He then told the teller, “I only have six months to live and have nothing to lose. I don’t want to hurt you,” the complaint said.
Unbehaun took $4,178 in cash from the teller, divided it into two piles and put the money in separate pockets, the complaint said. Then he fled.
According to the criminal complaint, this was not Unbehaun’s first bank robbery. In 1998, he was arrested on bank robbery charges in Illinois, and two years later was sentenced to 188 months in prison and three years of supervised release, court documents show.
The FBI said one of the individuals who recognized Unbehaun in a surveillance video image of the Feb. 9 Niles robbery was a probation officer who has supervised Unbehaun following his release from prison in 2011.
Unbehaun’s supervision was transferred to South Carolina, but on Feb. 7, just two days before the Niles bank robbery, it was learned that Unbehaun had fled South Carolina and was in violation of his supervised release, the FBI’s criminal complaint said.
When apprehended Sunday, authorities said Unbehaun admitted to robbing the BMO Harris Bank and made statements indicating he wanted to go back to prison because he had spent most of his adult life behind bars and “felt more comfortable” there.
Police located a loaded a .32 caliber revolver that had been hidden in a black purse in Unbehaun’s motel room, as well as $3,467 in cash, according to the complaint. Unbehaun admitted to using the gun in the robbery, authorities said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown ordered Unbehaun held until his next court appearance, the FBI said. If convicted, Unbehaun faces up to 20 years in prison.~.