Arrest Made in West Frankfort Bank Robbery
UPDATED 9:30 a.m. FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 2014
BENTON -- A Franklin County man arrested for bank robbery is facing more charges.
Benton Police say Kent D. Kellerman, 52, of Thompsonville, has been also been charged with the Dec. 17 robbery of Vickee's Card Shop.
According to investigators, a man said he wanted flowers then threatened store employees with scissors and demanded money.
Kellerman was arrested Thursday for the Jan. 8 robbery of Banterra Bank in West Frankfort.
UPDATED 10:40 p.m. JANUARY 23, 2014
WSIL -- There's been a rash of armed robberies in the past three weeks across Southern Illinois. So far, the hold up of a Banterra bank in West Frankfort is the only one that's been solved.
Kent Kellerman, 52, is now behind bars charged with armed robbery. Police say he's the man in the surveillance video, seen robbing Banterra Bank on east Oak St. two weeks ago. Detectives have been gathering evidence against him, leading up to Thursday's arrest.
"An investigation is not sustainable on just a confession alone. A lot of times we have to build a case around an individual to be able to prosecute them," explained West Frankfort Police Chief Shawn Talluto.
He says detectives worked tirelessly since the Jan. 8 crime, knowing time was of the essence.
"Eye witness statements may change. People start to think, they start to second guess what they saw," Talluto added.
Detectives served a search warrant at Kellerman's home in Thompsonville Thursday. He confessed just hours later.
"The quicker that we can bring closure and prosecution to these cases the better off we are," said Talluto.
The chief credits the community for helping them crack this case.
"If we have no physical evidence, of course we're depending on the public to be able to give us information to lead us in the right direction, which in turn in this case was beneficial to us," he said.
Other departments are also looking for tips to solve recent armed robberies. Two men held up the Casey's in Zeigler on Jan. 6, who fled with cash.
"Money, that's why they do it," Talluto told News 3..
Last Saturday, another Casey's, this one in Elkville, was robbed. That crime was also carried out by two men. Then, Hucks on Walnut in Murphysboro was targeted by a man with a similar description to one of the Elkville suspects.
The latest hold up was in Herrin Monday night at Jumpin' Jimmy's. Surveillance video shows a man surprise the clerk with a gun before taking the cash and running.
Herrin Officer David Dorris thinks someone out there has information that could lead to a break.
"We can definitely use the public's help. They could have a friend say that they've done it," Dorris said.
No one was hurt in any of these robberies. All of the departments continue to follow leads, and some have even varied their patrols since the crimes.
It happened Jan. 8 at Banterra Bank on East Oak Street. A man brought a coffee can into the bank and told tellers he wanted to cash in his change. He then said he had a gun and demanded money, threatening to blow up the building.
On Thursday, authorities arrested Kent Kellerman, 52, of Thompsonville, for armed robbery.
West Frankfort Police say tips helped lead them to Kellerman who confessed to the crime.
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