Prosecutors say a Chicago man may have robbed more than 20 people at bank ATMs across the city and other jurisdictions this summer.
During a bond hearing Wednesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Jack Costello laid out details of two cases against Thomas Lewis II and told Judge Mary Marubio that four different law enforcement agencies are preparing to bring additional charges against him.
Lewis was charged yesterday with two counts of robbery and operating a financial crimes enterprise, but Costello said “conservatively…at least 20” similar cases involving “dozens of victims” may be linked to the 33-year-old.
On June 23, Lewis allegedly approached a woman and her service dog as she conducted a transaction at the Citibank ATM, 180 North Michigan, around 8 p.m. Lewis asked the woman for help using the machine next to her and then inserted a check into the ATM that the woman was using, Costello said.
Lewis then allegedly tried to withdraw money from the woman’s account by pushing buttons on her ATM. The woman screamed at him, intervened, pushed him away, and pressed the machine’s “cancel” button, Costello said.
But Lewis cornered her, forced her to enter her PIN, and withdrew $700 from her account before fleeing, according to the state.
A witness saw what happened and provided police with a license plate number of the car that the robber used. Police traced the Jeep Wrangler back to Lewis through a rental car agency, Costello said.
On July 29, Lewis robbed a man of $900 through a similar scheme at a South Loop bank branch, according to Costello. During that robbery, Lewis made three $300 withdrawals and told the victim to “back off” because “nobody needs to get shot today,” Costello continued.
Both crimes were captured on bank surveillance videos. Lewis admitted to both robberies as well as “others of a similar nature,” Costello said. All of the robberies that Lewis is suspected of committing followed the same pattern of approaching customers at ATMs and taking control of the machines, according to Costello.
Lewis was on bail for a pending forgery case at the time of the robberies. He has a history of fraud, forgery, and theft convictions stretching back to 2010, Costello said. Lewis has eight children.
Judge Marubio ordered Lewis held without bail for violating the terms of bail in the pending forgery case. She set bail on the new charges at $10,000. After clearing up the violation of bail bond matter, Lewis will need to post a $1,000 deposit bond and go onto electronic monitoring if he wants to get out of jail before trial, according to Marubio’s order.