Alleged bank robber captured

Accused robber of Community Bank Oak Park River Forest spent time in prison for four other robberies

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

A man who allegedly robbed Community Bank Oak Park River Forest, 1001 Lake St., on July 19 has been captured, according to the Chicago Bureau of the FBI.

Chicago resident Dane Phenegar, 28, was taken into custody on July 28 and had his first appearance in federal court the same day.

Court records show that it is not Phenegar's first bank robbery. He pleaded guilty to robbing four other banks in December 2011 in Elgin, Glendale Heights, Geneva and Wheaton.

The criminal complaint against Phenegar in the Community Bank robbery notes that he allegedly stole $2,874 at approximately 2:09 p.m. in a non-takeover robbery, meaning that no hostages were taken and most bank employees were unaware that the bank had been robbed until after the event had taken place.

FBI Task Force Officer Paul R. Peraino states in the criminal complain that Phenegar approached one of the tellers and began a conversation with them, and then stated, "Give me all the money in the drawer. This is a robbery."

The teller opened the cash drawer and began to put money in an envelope, when Phenegar allegedly said, "I don't want any dye packs or GPS."

Before leaving he told the teller, "Those doors better not be locked or I'll start shooting."

Phenegar was described as approximately 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, in his 20s and with dreadlocks. He wore a tan floppy hat, gold and brown sunglasses and a T-shirt, according to Peraino's report.

Law enforcement officials collected five fingerprints and partial finger and palm impressions from the scene of the crime, one of which was connected to Phenegar through the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Next Generation Identification (FBI-NGI) database.

The criminal complaint notes that at the time of the robbery Phenegar was on supervised release from prison in the Northern District of Illinois.

It could not immediately be determined how Phenegar was taken into custody.

About three hours after the July 19 robbery, a witness contacted the Oak Park Police Department and reported they had encountered a man who matched the description of the bank robber in the parking garage at 150 Forest Ave.

The witness was in the parking garage at around 2 p.m. and saw "a thin, black male with dreadlocks, in his early 20s that had a floppy hat and T-shirt," according to the criminal complaint.

The man asked the witness how he could exit the parking garage. The witness later learned of the bank robbery and contacted police.

Both the witness and the bank teller identified Phenegar as the man they encountered the day of the robbery.

Video surveillance of the parking garage revealed that an individual who resembled Phenegar entered the garage from Forest Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.

"Phenegar can be observed taking the elevator up to the fourth level before taking the stairs to the first level and subsequently exiting the parking garage," the criminal complaint states.

The video also shows a man discarding a rolled up grayish colored floppy hat in a garbage can in the garage, according to the complaint. "A later search of the parking garage conducted by law enforcement revealed a pair of sunglasses in a rolled up, grayish colored floppy hat," according to the FBI.

Court records show that Phenegar was on supervised release from prison after pleading guilty to robbing:

  • $780 from Fifth Third Bank, 1500 North Main St., in Wheaton, on Dec. 5, 2011.
  • $5,053 from First State Bank, 323 West St., in Geneva, on Dec. 5, 2011.
  • $203 from TCF Bank, 567 East North Ave., in Glendale Heights, on Dec. 9, 2011.
  • $4,380 from Elgin State Bank, 1001 South Randall Rd., in Elgin, on Dec. 20, 2011.

Phenegar was arrested by St. Charles Police on Dec. 22, 2011, on unrelated charges, according to an FBI press release in 2011.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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Reader Comments

14 Comments - Add Your Comment

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William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: January 25th, 2020 10:01 PM

It's always interesting to read people opine here and say things like "we don't know," etc, when a simple Google search will provide all sorts of information. This guy's been a criminal mutt for many years now. An FBI Chicago Violent Crimes Task Force bulletin dated December 28, 2011 - EIGHT YEARS ago, and long before his Oak Park bank robbery arrest, states that a then 22-year old Dane Phenegar "has been charged with the December 20 (2011) robbery of the Elgin State Bank?" He'd been paroled from prison a month earlier on Nov. 18 from convictions for forgery, manufacturing/distributing a look-alike substance and obstructing justice. The US Secret Service also said that Phenegar and a criminal associate were counterfeiting US currency in their motel room around the time they were arrested. Phenegar was also a suspect in multiple bank robberies in Wheaton, Geneva and Glendale Heights back in 2011. In any event, he has until June, 2025 to mull things over in a federal penitentiary in Florida.

James Woods from Chicago  

Posted: January 25th, 2020 4:28 PM

I knew him personally. He was slowing getting more and more addicted to heroin and was experiencing money problems. He actually posted on his FB right after the robbery "rent paid, phone paid, bank account in the green, life is okay" i dont understand why he did it so insanely sloppy, i cant only think he was going through withdrawals and didnt think or care. But i can say dane is a sweet and kind man. He's not violent one bit and would never "start shooting" anywhere. Just a troubled man.

Richard Stephen  

Posted: August 7th, 2017 9:09 PM

This young man was merely redistributing wealth. To himself.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: August 7th, 2017 7:44 PM

The last sentence is the key. those pesky unrelated charges. We have no idea what the young lad was up to when he was not robbing banks. Maybe he was robbing grocery stores or seeking spiritual guidance from the clergy who were stealing from hungry children.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: August 7th, 2017 5:06 PM

@Kevin - at the point where its obvious we are dealing with a career criminal, locking them up forever makes a lot of sense since people get upset about death penalties, which is the cost effective way to go. Or we can let them free over and over and hope to never hear "...or I'll start shooting" anywhere near our friends and families.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: August 7th, 2017 4:18 PM

Because that's where the money is. Duh!

John H. Wilharm III  

Posted: August 7th, 2017 2:52 PM

I'm sure this young man had valid reasons for robbing the bank. Let's hear his point of view before crucifying him.

Jenna Brown Russell  

Posted: August 7th, 2017 8:34 AM

Kevin, your argument is only apt if we do not enforce the law below a certain threshold. Instead, officers respond to the alarm, mobilize search, issue an apb, arrest, process, try, testify, sentence, release and administor probabation. Yes, for the risk to the teller, others in the bank and the community, I think non-rehabilitated armed robbers should be in prison. Catch and release isn't as economical, or logical, as the devil may purport.

Kevin Anderson  

Posted: August 7th, 2017 8:12 AM

@Tom... Just to play devil's advocate on this: You are saying we should lock up his person for life at $30,000+ per year for 5 non-violent robberies totaling about $13,000 over 6 years? Doesn't seem to make good financial sense to me.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: August 6th, 2017 8:31 PM

If a guy who was already caught for robbing four banks is free, out and about among us, how can anyone be surprised that he is robbing his 5th bank. Do they draw a line at ten robberies, or twelve or what before they lock them up for good?

Kevin Anderson  

Posted: August 5th, 2017 7:05 AM

The witness reported To police 3 hours later. He saw the man about 9 minutes before the robbery according to the news story.

Mary Jo Erickson from Oak Park  

Posted: August 4th, 2017 8:42 PM

"About three hours after the July 19 robbery, a witness...saw a thin, black male with dreadlocks, in his early 20s that had a floppy hat and T-shirt," Three hours later and he hasn't changed clothes or even taken off the hat? Probably was still wearing the sunglasses too.

Al Rossell  

Posted: August 4th, 2017 6:54 PM

Doesn't seem like much supervision for a "supervised release"

Steve Kelley from Oak Park  

Posted: August 4th, 2017 6:46 PM

It is a great disguise. How did they ever ID him? Darwin Award.

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