Ex-deputy arrested in Earlville faces robbery charges in Will County

A Mendota man who was the subject of a two-day manhunt has been charged in Will County with armed robbery, aggravated robbery and unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle.

Lowell Maxwell “Max” Ambler, 46, is in the Lee County Jail on a $1 million bond. Ambler surrendered peacefully to authorities Thursday. Will County authorities issued a $5 million warrant for Ambler’s arrest Friday.

The Will County charges stem from Ambler allegedly carjacking a Hyundai Santa Fe on Wednesday in Plainfield. Ambler also faces home invasion and kidnapping charges in Lee County. Ambler is due in Lee County court at
11 a.m. Nov. 13.

Ambler is a former Earlville police officer, LaSalle County sheriff’s deputy and K-9 handler. He started his career as a LaSalle County deputy July 24, 2000, according to the sheriff’s office, and resigned June 15, 2015. Ambler’s home invasion and kidnapping case involves his allegedly entering a home in Compton where his ex-girlfriend’s daughter was baby-sitting and holding the girl against her will. He was arrested Sept. 15. He posted $25,000 bail Sept. 20, Lee County court records show.

While out on bond, Ambler violated the terms of his release by sending six text messages and six Snapchat messages to the mother of his victim, court records show. Ambler had active arrest warrants in Lee and LaSalle counties for violating the conditions of his bail bond and violating a protective order.

Shortly after noon Tuesday, Plainfield police received a state police emergency response message regarding Ambler, indicating he had stolen a corn-hauling semitrailer and might be headed to Plainfield, where the victim and her mother were staying. Ambler was believed to be armed with a .45-caliber handgun and considered dangerous, police said.

Local schools, including Plainfield North High School, were placed on soft lockdowns, and a reverse 911 alert of that area was made so residents could take shelter.

Plainfield police officers found the stolen semitrailer abandoned on Normantown Road north of 119th Street. After ditching the semitrailer, Ambler, armed with a handgun, stole the Santa Fe, police said.

The stolen Hyundai was found in woods near a cemetery south of Ambler’s hometown of Earlville.

Ambler was taken into custody after a Thursday morning standoff.

• Sauk Valley Media contributed to this report.

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