Play-Along Bandit: Notorious Chicago Bank Robber Finally Apprehended

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A man apprehended last month in Monona, Wisconsin, is now believed by the FBI to be the notorious Play-Along Bandit, a bank robber who has been pilfering financial institutions all over Chicago like a comic book supervillain.

Thirty-year-old Corey Collier was arrested on January 20 after he allegedly robbed a bank in Monona, Wisconsin, near Madison. After the robbery, the Play-Along Bandit, who Collier is now believed to be, tried to walk to the bus station to catch a ride back to the Windy City. However, officers were quick to respond to the robbery and they set up a perimeter, fencing in Collier. After a short foot chase across a highway, into a frozen marshland, and onto frozen lake Monona, the Play-Along Bandit was finally chased down by police using canine units and an airboat.

The Play-Along Bandit is the prime suspect in at least nine bank robberies in Chicago since last October, prior to the bank in Wisconsin. According to FBI officials, Collier was given the Play-Along Bandit moniker because of the way he “blended in” with customers at the banks he robbed. When entering and leaving the banks, the Play-Along Bandit acted as calm and collected as if he were just another customer. Though no one has ever been harmed in any of the bank robberies committed by the Play-Along Bandit, Collier has often possessed or implied possession of a firearm.

Though online and internet crimes seem to get most headlines in this day and age, the FBI reports that a lot of old-fashioned bank robberies still are prevalent. According to FBI statistics, in 2011, over $38 million was stolen from banks of all types in the United States from just over 5,000 robberies and a smaller number of burglaries. What might be more interesting is that “loot” was recovered in less than 20 percent of the 2011 crimes, totaling just over $8 million.

The FBI hasn’t revealed just how much money the Play-Along Bandit stole in his 10 bank robberies, however, it wasn’t probably close to the largest bank robbery in U.S. history. That claim to fame belongs to the Dunbar Armored car robbery in 1997, when criminals almost got away with over $19 million.

The regional safety inspector for Dunbar, Allen Pace, took detailed photographs and made extensive plans of the Los Angeles armored car depot. When Pace and his co-conspirators returned for the crime, they were able to evade security cameras and alarms as they captured guards and bound them with duct tape, all while using headsets for communication. The thieves drove off in a U-Haul truck filled with money, and might have really gotten away with it except that the U-Haul’s tail light broke at the crime scene and gave the FBI enough evidence to find and arrest Pace and his cohorts.

The Play-Along bandit is currently residing in a Dane County jail cell near Madison, Wisconsin.

[Image via Monona Police Department]