Two men accused of robbing the U.S. Bank in Bettendorf on Thursday were caught after a teller placed a GPS tracking device along with cash into the bag one of the robbers brought with him to carry the money.
Christopher L. Schultz, 41, and Benjamin D. Watkins, 21, both of 334 Valley Dr., Geneseo, Illinois, were being held Thursday night without bond in the Scott County Jail.
Schultz is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony under Iowa law that carries a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years, 70 percent of which, or 17 ½ years, must be served before parole can be granted.
Schultz also is charged with conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, a Class C felony that carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, and second-degree theft, a Class D felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
Watkins is charged with one count each of first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, and third-degree theft, an aggravated misdemeanor that carries a prison sentence of up to two years.
Davenport police also will be filing first-degree robbery charges against Schultz for the Feb. 16 robbery of the DuTrac Credit Union at 3100 W. Kimberly Road.
The two men also are being looked at by Moline Police for a similar bank robbery in that city.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been called in to assist in the investigations, and more charges against the two men are possible.
According to the arrest affidavits filed by Bettendorf Police Detective Jeff Buckles, at 10:02 a.m. Thursday officers were called to U.S. Bank, 2120 Middle Road, for a robbery.
Schultz went into the bank, wielded a handgun and demanded the teller put money in a black zipper bag he had brought with him, according to the affidavit.
The teller put $766 in cash and a GPS tracking device into Schultz’s bag. He then fled the bank on foot.
Officers were able to track the general direction of the vehicle Schultz had gotten into and Bettendorf Police Detective Brian Crouch was able to observe Schultz throwing items into a dumpster at a business just south of Tanglefoot Lane and Golden Valley Drive.
Officers were able to stop the vehicle that was being driven by Watkins.
Officers checked the dumpster and found the clothing that Schultz had been wearing during the robbery, along with the zipper bag that contained the handgun, shredded U.S. currency and a portion of the GPS tracking device. Officers also found a fraudulent Illinois temporary license plate.
A search warrant was obtained so officers could search the men’s vehicle. Officers seized a pair of black Nike tennis shoes Shultz had worn during the robbery, a pair of sunglasses, a pair of black gloves, and a piece of black fabric consistent with that worn around Schultz’s face during the robbery.
On March 23 at 12:52 p.m. a similar armed robbery occurred at the IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union, 2839 AAA Ct. that is across the street from the U.S. Bank. Schultz was wearing the same clothing and produced a similar handgun during the robbery of the credit union that he had in the robbery of the bank, according to Buckles’ affidavit.
Schultz had gotten $5,697 in cash from the credit union robbery and then had fled on foot to the Chateau Knoll Apartments.
Watkins admitted that he drove Schultz to an apartment complex where Schultz got out of the vehicle, and then returned later. Watkins also admitted to driving to an area by a hotel where Schultz again left the vehicle.
Watkins denied having knowledge of the bank robbery and denied knowing why Schultz got out of the vehicle either time, according to the arrest affidavit.
The robbery of the U.S. Bank on Thursday caused the police to request that nearby schools be locked down for about 15 minutes.
No injuries were reported.
Anyone with information about these robberies or other bank robberies in the area are urged to call their area police department or Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at 309-762-9500.