Man, 19, charged with attempted robbery at Portage Park bank branch

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Sun-Times file photo

A 19-year-old man is facing federal charges after barricading himself inside a home Tuesday morning in the Northwest Side Portage Park neighborhood following an attempted bank robbery.

Charles Leclaire, of Rockford, was charged with attempted bank robbery, according to the FBI and a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

About 10:30 a.m., Leclaire walked into a Bank of America branch at 4671 W. Irving Park Road, according to the criminal complaint. After noticing him crowding another customer in line, a teller called Leclaire over to assist him.

Leclaire stepped up to the window and presented a handwritten note demanding $1,000 from the teller’s drawer, the complaint said.

“I have a gun no one has to die,” the note read.

After Leclaire asked for the note back, the teller activated the bank’s silent alarm, according to the complaint.

Leclaire then left the bank and another employee called 911, the complaint said. The teller told the operator what happened and provided a description of the attempted robber and his clothing.

Three officers patrolling the area heard a broadcast of the robbery and saw someone matching the suspect’s description walking south in the 3600 block of North Lavergne, about a mile from the bank branch, according to the complaint.

The officers pursued the suspect on foot and in a vehicle before he walked into a home in the 4900 block of West Addison, the complaint said. Additional police units responded to the scene and established a perimeter around the building before ordering the other residents out of the house.

A neighbor then positively identified Leclaire as the person who lives in the home’s basement based on surveillance photos from the attempted bank robbery, according to the complaint. The three officers who pursued Leclaire and two tellers from the bank also positively identified him as the suspect.

About 2 p.m., Leclaire surrendered to authorities and waived his Miranda rights, according to the complaint. During an interview, he admitted to the attempted robbery before identifying himself as the person in the surveillance photos from the bank and taking credit for the demand note found at the scene.

Leclaire was ordered held during an appearance Wednesday in federal court, the FBI said. He was scheduled to appear in court again on Friday, but details of that hearing weren’t immediately known.

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