A 54-year-old man has been charged with robbing a bank Friday afternoon in the South Side Hyde Park neighborhood.
Ronald Lewis faces one federal count of bank robbery, according to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court.
A few minutes after 1 p.m., the suspect entered the Fifth Third Bank branch at 1420 E. 53rd St. and waited in line, according to the complaint.
When a teller called him to the window, the suspect squirted a liquid from a clear bottle with a turquoise top on the teller, according to the complaint. The teller screamed and ran away from the window as the suspect said, “Give me the money! Give me the money! All the big money!” he was also waving a gray plastic grocery bag.
The tellers believed the liquid was gasoline, authorities said.
The teller took off their sweater as the suspect continued to yell at a second teller, who was assisting a customer at another window, according to the complaint. The first teller returned to their window, activated the bank alarm and gave the suspect money from their drawer, which included a GPS tracking device. The suspect left the bank.
The bank employees provided a description of the robber, which was broadcast over the police radios along with the location of he GPS tracking device, according to the complaint.
An officer went to Hyde Park Boulevard and Woodlawn Avenue, where the tracking device was located, according to the complaint. He saw an individual who matched the description of the robber and was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. He lost sight of the man, but spoke to a construction worker nearby who said he had taken off the gray sweatshirt and had left on a bicycle, wearing a blue shirt. The updated description was provided over the police radio.
About 1:30 p.m., a University of Chicago police officer saw a man matching the description of the suspect riding a bicycle near East 47th Street and Lake Park Avenue, according to the complaint. The officer lost sight of the man behind a building, but went around the building and saw a bicycle on the ground and found the man wearing a white t-shirt and out of breath.
The man was arrested and identified as Lewis, according to the complaint. He was identified by the tellers as the robber, and the same amount of cash stolen from the bank — $416 — was found in one of his pockets.
Lewis, of Chicago, also admitted in a statement to robbing the bank, according to the complaint.