FBI Nabs One of its 10 Most Wanted Fugitives
CHICAGO (AP) _ The FBI on Tuesday arrested one of its Ten Most Wanted fugitives, a convicted bank robber, and launched a manhunt for a man wanted with him in a string of robberies across the nation, authorities said.
Agents nabbed Terry Lee Conner, 43, of Evansville, Ill., at the Red Roof Inn in suburban Arlington Heights after a stakeout prompted by a tip from a citizen who thought Conner looked like a man on the Ten Most Wanted list, said FBI spokesman Bob Long.
Federal agents also were searching for a second bank robber on the Most Wanted list, Joseph William Dougherty, 47, of Philadelphia, who escaped from federal custody with Conner on June 19, 1985, Long said.
Since the two escaped from federal custody last year, both men have been accused of committing a series of bank robberies nationwide. On several occasions they were armed with automatic weapons and took hostages, authorities have said.
On Tuesday morning, FBI agents and U.S. marshals staked out Conner’s motel room and arrested him without incident when he came out at 10 a.m., said Pete Flanagan, another FBI spokesman.
The FBI then launched a massive manhunt in Chicago’s northwestern suburbs in search of Dougherty, who is still believed in the area, Flanagan said.
Flanagan declined comment on whether the FBI found any weapons or money in Conner’s hotel room.
Conner and Dougherty escaped while being transported to an Oklahoma City courthouse from the Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., where they had been incarcerated for bank robbery convictions, Long said.
At the time, Dougherty being tried in a 1982 holdup of an Oklahoma City bank. Conner already had been convicted of that robbery and was to testify in Dougherty’s trial, FBI officials have said.
A jury in Dougherty’s case, unaware that he escaped, found the Philadelphia native guilty while police and federal agents searched for the two. Dougherty also had been convicted previously of four bank robberies in Philadelphia and Newark, N.J., and sentenced to 40 years in prison but paroled in September 1981.
After their escape, Long said, the two men robbed a bank in St. Louis on Aug. 12, 1985, and one in Milwaukee on Sept. 5, 1985.
In the Milwaukee robbery, the two men are accused of holding a banker and his family captive for more than 11 hours at gunpoint. The two men released the hostages unharmed and fled with an estimated $500,000, police said at the time.
Dougherty also has been charged with bank robberies in Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 25, 1984, in Salt Lake City on May 3, 1984, and Reno, Nev., on Feb. 19, 1985, Long said.
In early July 1986, two suspects identified by the FBI as Conner and Dougherty robbed a bank in Portland, Ore., and again held a banker’s family hostage overnight. The two men released the family unharmed but made off with an estimated $255,000, authorities said at the time.
Long said Conner also had been indicted in a July 9 bank robbedry in Seattle, Long said.
Conner was put on the 10 Most Wanted List on Aug. 8, 1986, and Dougherty was named to the list Nov. 6, 1985, he said.
When Conner was arrested Tuesday morning, agents found addresses in his room that the FBI hoped would lead to Dougherty, Long said.
Long credited a citizen, whom he declined to identify, with helping the FBI catch Conner.
″We had information relating to him (Conner) possibly being in this area,″ he said.
″We passed out lots of wanted flyers. (The arrest) was due to a citizen thinking he recognized this man and calling us with a tip.″