COLUMBIA, IL (KTVI) –A silver wig and heavy, face-altering makeup was what a bank robber wore Monday, caught on surveillance robbing a Columbia, Illinois bank.
Just before one in the afternoon, Market Place Grocery Store Manager Teresa Rednour was checking out for her lunch break, when, unbeknownst to her, a bank robber breezed right past her, through the liquor aisle, and into Commerce Bank. Then, the suspect handed the teller a threatening note, got the cash, and walked right back out the same way.
Rednour says, “The thing that caught my eye, he had a funny walk, but when I saw the gray hair I assumed it was an older person, so that explained the walk to me.”
The suspect passed this witness and dozens of others, none of whom had any idea what just happened.
Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards attributes the suspect’s bold behavior to a disguise so heavy, it’s impossible to tell his or her gender: “A heavy powder or even a clay to disguise them a little bit, so there was some time spent, possibly a wig, a scarf, big heavy jacket.”
Now, investigators are using surveillance footage to connect this robbery to several others in the region, including a recent bank robbery in Town and Country. Edwards says, “When you get multiple agencies involved and you have the ability, with the click of a mouse button, to look at some bank robbery suspects throughout the metropolitan area to compare which ones are similar, which ones are not, it’s a great tool.”
In the hopes that someone will recognize this person, police left surveillance photos at neighboring businesses, including Great Clips hair salon. Hair Stylist Chelsea Acord says, “The more I thought about it, the more shocked I was that, wow, a bank robbery just happened right next door, while I’m standing over here working.”
Acord and others are especially shocked since a bank robbery hasn’t happened in the small town since 1984.
Now, police are asking the public to pay close attention, especially while in a connected bank and grocery store. Edwards says, “Just keep an eye out when you’re walking through places like that, that are connected to banks, people that just look out of the norm.”
Anyone with information on this suspect is asked to call the Columbia Police Department at 618-281-5151, the FBI at 618-394-5630 or Crimestoppers at 1-866-371-8477.