River Forest police tracked down and arrested a suspect minutes after he allegedly robbed the TCF Bank, 800 N. Harlem Ave. early Friday evening. Ronald Kenneth Brunt, 41, a paroled convict, was arrested after being observed by responding police boarding a Pace bus at Harlem and Division five minutes after the robbery around 7:15 p.m.
According to statements Blunt reportedly made to River Forest police, he entered the bank, wrote "I got a gun" on a deposit slip, handed the note to a teller, and said, "I got a gun." The teller gave Brunt twenty $100 bills, which he placed in his pocket and left the bank.
As a drive-thru teller watched, Brunt walk north on Harlem until he saw a bus coming near Division Street. At the same time, River Forest officer Chris Pate was heading to the area in an unmarked squad car. Pate observed a man wearing the red shirt and black pants described by the teller running toward a northbound Harlem Avenue Pace bus and radioed for assistance. Four Oak Park officers responded, and backed up Pate as he stopped the bus and boarded it. As the five officers came aboard, Brunt reportedly threw 18 of the $100 bills under his seat. The officers found Brunt kneeling behind a seat in the rear of the bus and arrested him without incident. The bank teller who'd handed over the cash was then driven to the site and identified Blunt as the robber.
At the River Forest police station police recovered the other two $100 bills from Brunt's pockets. Besides the cash, the teller's identification and Brunt's statement, investigators also have the note Blunt allegedly handed the teller.
According to River Forest Deputy Police Chief Kendra Sullivan, no gun was recovered from Brunt.
"Everything went very smooth," said Sullivan. "Everybody on the bus let Officer Pate do his job." Sullivan also praised employees of the bank for following proper procedure and the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center for its performance during the incident.
Brunt was formally charged with one count of bank robbery during a Monday morning appearance before Federal Magistrate Arlander Keys, who ordered him held without bond in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. If convicted on the charge, Brunt faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
According to Illinois Department of Correction records, Brunt was paroled April 5 from the Centralia Correctional Center after serving five years of a 10-year sentence for a vehicular hijacking with a firearm conviction. He also has prior convictions for narcotics, a weapons violation and burglary.