Mt. Vernon Register-News

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January 10, 2013

Suspect in bank robberies arrested

Willie Franklin, 37, was arrested in Tampa, Fla. following the execution of a search warrant

MT. VERNON — — An Illinois man who is the chief suspect in a string of robberies, including two in Mt. Vernon, has been arrested in Florida.

Willie Franklin, 37, of Urbana, was arrested Wednesday morning in Tampa, Fla., following the execution of a search warrant, according to Mt. Vernon Police Chief Chris Mendenall.

“They’ve caught him,” Mendenall said late Wednesday afternoon. “He was arrested in Tampa.” Mendenall posted on the Mt. Vernon Police Department’s Facebook page the details of the arrest, but offered no other comment.

Mendenall confirmed the MVPD has been working closely with the FBI and other agencies in recent robberies that have covered a minimum of three states.

Franklin is expected to be extradited to Illinois where the U.S. Attorney General’s Office is likely to file charges.

Police responded to the report of a bank robberty at Fifth Third Bank at 2711 Broadway around 11 a.m. Saturday.

A black male subject robbed the bank, and left with an undisclosed amount of money, according to information released by MVPD.

A black male subject was the focus of another bank robbery in Mt. Vernon occurring on Dec. 11, in which an undetermined amount of money was taken from the GenFed Credit Union on South 42nd Street. Police brought in their K-9 unit to help track the suspect, who was last seen going east from the bank between the facility and Mt. Vernon Fire Station 4.

The same suspect was believed to have been involved in a robbery in northern Illinois, in the community of Manteno, in the same week of the GenFed robbery. He is also suspected of pulling similar heists in Missouri and Indiana.

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