Lowe’s employee helps FBI identify Arlington Heights bank robbery suspect

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Surveillance photo of bank robber | FBI

The FBI, with the help of an alert Lowe’s cashier, arrested a man Tuesday who is charged with robbing a bank in northwest suburban Arlington Heights last week.

A cashier in the Arlington Heights Lowe’s home improvement store saw a surveillance photo of the robber, wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jacket, in a newspaper on Nov. 10, and thought he looked familiar. The clerk then remembered a man who had tried to pick up an online order on Nov. 8 under an incorrect name, and who had previously acted suspiciously in the store, according to a federal criminal complaint.

The cashier notified a co-worker, who checked old surveillance footage and confirmed the cashier’s suspicions. They then watched outside footage, saw the man enter a vehicle and notified police of the license plate, the complaint states.

John P. Stoessel of Arlington Heights was taken into custody Tuesday by federal authorities and charged with bank robbery, according to a statement from the FBI.

The robbery happened shortly after 10 a.m. Nov. 9 at the TCF Bank branch inside a Jewel-Osco at 440 E. Rand Rd. The robber “approached an employee and made a threatening demand for money,” the FBI said.

He handed the teller a handwritten note that read, “I have a gun. Give me all of your 20s, 50s, and 100s.” The teller gave the robber about $2,000, the federal complaint said.

When Cicero police pulled Stoessel over on Nov. 9, they found “approximately $2,000 in cash, mostly in $100 bills, on his person,” the federal complaint said, and he was still wearing the Blackhawks jacket.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. He was ordered held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center until his next court hearing Dec. 15.

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