Pair charged with suburban bank robbery spree using stolen AK-47

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A west suburban man and woman have been charged with robbing three banks in May using a stolen AK-47 rifle.

James D. Williams, 41, and Alexis T. Handelman, 21, are accused of three armed takeover bank robberies in a three-week period, according to a statement from the FBI. They are both residents of Bartlett.

The duo has been charged with robbing an Old Second Bank branch May 11 at 323 E. Norris Drive in Ottawa in north central Illinois; a NorStates Bank branch May 21 at 5384 Grand Ave. in north suburban Gurnee; and an Aurora Bank and Trust branch May 31 at 2287 W. Galena Blvd. in west suburban Aurora, authorities said.

Leading up to the robberies, Williams stole an AK-47 rifle and rented different vehicles, according to the FBI. In at least one of the incidents, he attached stolen license plates to a vehicle he’d rented.

At least one shot was fired during the Aurora robbery, but no injuries were reported, Aurora police said at the time.

Williams was arrested by federal agents on May 31 and Handelman was arrested on unrelated local charges June 18, the FBI said. They have both since been indicted on federal bank robbery charges.

Williams appeared before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Rowland on June 19 and was ordered detained, authorities said. Handelman remained in state custody Thursday and her federal court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

Handelman was being held at the DuPage County Jail on charges of drug possession, DUI, driving on a suspended or revoked license, obstructing justice, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and failure to give information to the owner after striking an unattended vehicle or property, according to the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office. Her next court date for those charges was scheduled for July 16.