By Bob Uphues
UPDATED: Friday, Sept. 28 at 9:38 a.m.
Riverside police have charged two people in connection with the Sept. 24 armed robbery at an ATM at Bank of America, 3300 Harlem Ave., and on Sept. 26 the FBI filed a complaint in U.S. District Court seeking bank robbery charges against two others.
Terance A. Edwards, 26, of Country Club Hills and a 17-year-old Flossmoor boy were charged with armed robbery by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Edwards also faces a host of traffic citations resulting from a brief vehicle pursuit involving police that ended when he crashed a 2008 Nissan Altima into a tree in the 100 block of East Burlington Street.
At the time of the Riverside incident, Edwards was on parole after serving part of a three-year sentence for a robbery conviction in 2016. According to Riverside police, his criminal history includes three prior robbery arrests in 2013 in Markham and Matteson, as well as arrests for burglary, battery and criminal damage.
In addition, the FBI complaint identifies two men, Gianaurre Shaviss and Christopher Greene, as two of the three people who stole cash from the ATM while a technician was servicing the machine. The FBI identified the two by matching the clothing they were wearing at the time of their arrest with surveillance video recovered from the bank.
An 18-year-old Chicago Heights woman and an 18-year-old Homewood man, both of whom were passengers in the vehicle, along with the four others, were released without being charged.
According to police, the woman had been reported missing and endangered in March in Orange County, California. Local police have reached out to the Orange County Sheriff's Police to assist them in that investigation.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said aspects of the case are still being investigated and that other charges could follow. According to Weitzel, the FBI is investigating whether the offenders are connected to other armed robberies this year at ATMs in the south suburbs.
At about 9:35 p.m. on Sept. 24, police said, the alleged offenders waited near the ATM, which is in the drive-thru lane next to the bank, for a contract technician to service the machine.
Once the employee opened the ATM and placed a drawer full of cash on the ground, three offenders approached him, put a handgun to his temple and asked, "Is that money worth your life?" The offenders were identified in the federal complaint as Shaviss, Greene and a 17-year-old male. Two of the three were armed with handguns, according to the federal complaint.
The offenders then pushed the employee to the ground, and one of them held him to the ground while another grabbed about $8,000 in cash from the machine.
Shortly after leaving the scene, the offenders' vehicle was spotted by a Riverside police officer who was nearby on an unrelated traffic stop. The officer stopped the vehicle in the 200 block of East Burlington Street and approached it with his weapon drawn.
The vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed westbound, and shots reportedly were fired from the fleeing vehicle in the direction of police. No one was struck by any of the rounds and police did not fire their weapons at any time, Weitzel said. Police reported recovering two shell casings in the roadway on East Burlington Street.
Edwards reportedly lost control of the vehicle as it approached downtown Riverside. The car jumped the curb and struck a mature tree head on, shearing it in two and causing the Nissan to tumble, land on its top and catch fire.
Two people, Edwards and the female passenger were trapped in the vehicle and had to be pulled from it by police, who also extinguished the fire. The four others were taken into custody at the scene. All were hospitalized for treatment of injuries ranging from lacerations to concussions to broken bones and internal bleeding. All were in police custody by Sept. 26.
"This incident could have easily resulted in a multiple fatal crash or serious injuries from gunfire," said Weitzel in a press release.
Police also reported recovering about $7,740 in cash at the crash scene and along the two-block pursuit route. Police reported seeing cash flying out of the windows of the car as it sped westbound on East Burlington Street.
Investigators also recovered three loaded handguns, a .40-caliber gun reported stolen out of Tipton County, Indiana, in 2016 and two 9 mm handguns.
The weapons and recovered shell casings were turned over to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab to see if they match.
According to Weitzel, the scope of the investigation, the department's need to guard suspects at two different hospitals and the number of people involved, nearly overwhelmed Riverside's small department.
North Riverside police were called upon to respond to routine Riverside calls, Weitzel said, because his officers were too busy working on the robbery case.
"Every single Riverside police officer worked some aspect of this case by assisting in the investigation, guarding prisoners, collecting evidence, searching for video or street coverage because manpower was being utilized toward this investigation," Weitzel said.