Carbondale police officer charged with bank robbery

By Gus Bode

A Carbondale police officer and his neighbor were arrested and charged with the armed robbery of First Southern Bank in Carbondale, Jackson County State’s Attorney Mike Wepsiec said Thursday.

Carbondale Police Officer James Gaddis and Anthony Fike could face six to 30 years in prison if they are found guilty of the robbery, Wepsiec said. Because a firearm was used, Illinois law requires an additional 15 years be added to their sentences, Wepsiec said.

Both suspects are being held at Jackson County Jail. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 30, Wepsiec said.

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Gaddis, who has been a patrolman in Carbondale since 2004, has been suspended without pay, said interim Police Chief Jeff Grubbs at a news conference Thursday. Gardis was not on duty at the time of the robbery.

‘Investigations into serious crimes involving a police officer present unique and difficult challenges for a department and the individual officers assigned to investigate them,’ Grubbs said.

He said the actions of one person should not be taken as a representation of the Police Department.

Gaddis, 26, of Murphysboro, was arrested Wednesday night at the sheriff’s office. Fike, 35, of Murphysboro, turned himself in Thursday, Wepsiec said.

Grubbs said police responded to an alarm at the First Southern Bank, 2500 W. Murphysboro Rd., just before 10 a.m. on Oct. 9. Footage shot by the bank’s security cameras shows two individuals robbed the bank. One of the suspects held tellers at gunpoint while the second suspect removed at least $20,000 from the cash drawers and stuffed it into a backpack.

Some of the money stolen has been recovered, Wepsiec said.

He said he could not confirm whether the black semi-automatic handgun used during the robbery was issued to Gaddis by the police department and would not go into detail about motives for the crime.

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Gaddis filed a lawsuit in response to a foreclosure by Flagster Bank on Dec. 29, according to Jackson County court documents. The lawsuit is ongoing.

Wepsiec said Wednesday was a good day for Jackson County law enforcement, despite the arrest of a Carbondale police officer, because the Carbondale and Murphysboro police departments, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI came together to solve a serious crime.

Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole said the seriousness of the matter is underscored by the fact that a Carbondale police officer was involved.

‘However, I want there to be no doubt that I have complete confidence in all of our employees, particularly our public safety officers,’ Cole said.

Daily Egyptian reporter Barton Lorimor can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 263 or [email protected]

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