Hostages safe after Illinois bank standoff, but gunman missing, officials say

Wednesday, September 13th 2006, 1:07 pm
By: News On 6

DOLTON, Ill. (AP) _ An apparent robbery attempt turned hostage situation ended after about three hours Wednesday with no injuries, but authorities said they were still searching for a gunman.

Police entered the Heritage Community Bank in the Chicago suburb of Dolton and found two employees uninjured in the bank's downstairs bathroom, said Police Chief Elton McClendon.

They cleared the building after an initial search but did not find anyone with a gun, McClendon said. Authorities had blocked off several streets around the building as police from at least three towns, FBI agents and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force worked to resolve the situation.

Four to five customers and employees were able to escape when the incident started, Dolton village spokesman Sean Howard said.

Howard said officers had communicated with people inside the building, but he wouldn't say what was discussed. He said no one had been injured, and four to five customers and employees were able to escape.

The last successful robbery at the bank was in 1990, Howard said.