Police: Bank Robber Had to be Cut from Air Duct

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  • OAK LAWN, Ill. (AP) — A wig-wearing man broke into a suburban Chicago bank vault and nearly made off with $100,000 but got stuck in an air duct and had to be cut out hours later, authorities said Sunday.

    Charles Estell, 38, was found early Sunday hiding in an air duct in an office next to the bank, according to Oak Lawn police spokesman Michael Kaufmann.

    The Chicago man had allegedly robbed the suburban bank Saturday afternoon, and pointed a gun at bank employees who confronted him in the vault, according to the FBI.

    "I don't want to kill or hurt you," Estell said, according to the criminal complaint. "I just want the money."

    He allegedly stuffed $100,000 in a backpack and fled. Employees told authorities it appeared he escaped through the ceiling.

    Authorities spent hours searching for him and located him around 1 a.m. Sunday. But before they could cut him loose from the air duct, they had to remove a wig of long, beaded dreadlocks he was wearing.

    According to the criminal complaint, Estell told investigators that he got into the vault through the ceiling.

    Estell was charged Sunday with one felony count of bank robbery and could face up to 20 years in prison. He has not entered a plea, and is due back in court Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer. A phone message left Sunday at a number listed as his wasn't immediately returned.
     

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