FBI ups reward for bank robber who carried stuffed animals, gun in Chicago

Bank surveillance images of the “Stuffed Bear Bandit.” | FBI

CHICAGO — The FBI is pumping up its reward for a robber who entered a Chicago bank branch carrying stuffed animals last month.

Citing the “violent, brazen nature of the bank robbery in addition to concerns about this individual’s potential access to children,” the agency bumped the reward for information leading to the robber’s arrest and conviction to $5,000 from its standard $1,000 offer.

And they’ve given the robber a nickname: “Stuffed Bear Bandit.”

In a press release issued Thursday morning, the FBI said the man seen in these surveillance pictures entered the PNC Bank at 8700 South Cottage Grove three times on March 6.

“The first time, he was clutching two stuffed animals, one believed to be a Winnie the Pooh plush and the other, a Dalmatian plush from ‘101 Dalmatians,'” the agency said.

“He then entered the bank a second time, without the stuffed animals, and finally a third time when he violently robbed the bank,” according to the press release.

He “threw decorative rocks at the teller window before threatening the life of an employee, demanding funds, displaying a gun, and forcing a bank employee to the ground,” said the FBI.

The agency described him as Black, in his 40s or 50s, and 5’6″ to 5’8″ tall.

Tips can be shared with the FBI’s Chicago field office at 312-421-6700 or tips.fbi.gov.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. He can be reached at tim@cwbchicago.com