Authorities: Suspect in Harwood Heights attempted bank robbery apologized to tellers

A 27-year-old Forest Park man is being held in the attempted robbery of Byline Bank in Harwood Heights on July 25, in which authorities said a customer on a cellphone in one of the drive-thru lanes alerted the teller, which broke off the robbery.

The suspect, later identified as Andrew Johnston, had his initial appearance in federal court July 26. According to court records, he waived his right to a preliminary examination hearing, and the court entered a finding of probable cause. Documents indicated he was to remain in custody pending further order of the court. A detention hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 7.

Court records indicate that attorney Anthony Hill of the Federal Defender Panel was appointed as Johnston’s counsel.

“Mr. Johnston is innocent, and we look forward to confronting the government’s evidence in court,” Hill said via email.

No gun was observed or implied in the incident at the bank, located at 4660 N. Harlem Ave., police said. According to one of the tellers, the suspect requested between $2,500 to $3,500 in bank money, alluding to a family member’s gambling and other problems, the FBI complaint said.

A Norridge police officer placed Johnston under arrest at Forest Preserve Drive and Cumberland Avenue less than 20 minutes after the attempted robbery, said Harwood Heights Deputy Chief John DeVries.

Harwood Heights and River Grove police arrived on the scene around the same time, relying on a detailed description of the suspect’s car and registration provided by the customer from the drive-thru lane, DeVries said.

“It was great teamwork from everybody involved,” he said of the joint effort.

Taken back to the bank for witness identification following his arrest, Johnston became contrite for his actions, and asked to apologize to the shaken tellers, the FBI complaint stated.

The drama unfolded shortly before 5 p.m. July 25. According to one of the tellers, Johnston…

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