Men charged in foiled bank robbery plot set for arraignment

CHICAGO – The two men who are accused of trying to rob a bank in Richmond in May while a third man was shot and killed by FBI agents will be arraigned Tuesday.

Aaron Russell, 40, of Orland Hills, and Roberto Favela, 34, of Chicago, were charged in May with one count each of attempted bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and using firearms during a violent crime.

On May 10, Russell, Favela and a third man traveled from Chicago to Richmond, where they planned to rob the local Associated Bank, authorities said.

But the would-be robbers were thwarted by FBI agents, who had been investigating the men for a string of armed robberies of Chicago-area jewelry stores, authorities have said.

Tony Starnes, 45, of Chicago, who is said to have rammed a car into one of the agent's vehicles, then was shot in the parking lot of the bank at 10910 N. Main St.

The FBI was tailing the men after agents saw Favela driving a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe and Starnes driving a 2005 Honda Civic that had been reported stolen in Chicago in December, according to the FBI affidavit filed immediately after the alleged robbery attempt.

The incident shook the normally sleepy town as the incident brought a heavy police presence and swarm of local and regional media.

To the Northwest Herald, witnesses described the gunshots as sounding as though fireworks had exploded. Others recounted the police vehicles that flew by and said Richmond was like a "ghost town" as the investigation ensued.

Russell and Favela are set to enter a formal plea to the charges against them at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan. The men initially were charged in Rockford, but last week were indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago, where their case is now.

Russell, a convicted felon, also was charged with illegally possessing firearms. He had been previously convicted of armed robbery in 2004 and 1991, FBI officials have said. That charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison

Between the two men, they possessed four loaded guns, court documents show.

Attempted bank robbery carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years; conspiracy to commit bank robbery has a maximum of five years; and carrying firearms during a crime of violence carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of five years to a maximum of life in prison.

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