Two men have been charged with robbery for allegedly robbing a bank teller at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at BMO Harris Bank, 4100 Durand Ave.

Darnell Collins, 49, of Racine, and James Ward, 33, of Racine, were each charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday with one felony count of robbery of a financial institution.  Collins was also charged with obstructing a police officer (repeater).

If convicted, Collins faces up to 48 years in prison and up to $110,000 in fines because both charges had repeater modifiers attached to them. If convicted, Ward faces up 40 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, Collins walked into the BMO Harris Bank, 4100 Durand Ave., and approached a bank teller. He told the woman he wanted to cash a check, and handed a note to the teller that said “all hundreds.” The woman told Collins that she did not have $100 bills in the drawer, which agitated Collins. He made a motion as if he was reaching for a weapon and made the demand again.

The woman told police that this “caused her heart to stop for a minute.” She didn’t see a gun, but looked at the note Collins gave her, which had “shhh” written on one side and “$100s bang bang” on the other side. Gathering all of the money in the drawer — along with bait money  — the teller gave the money to Collins and told him that was all of the money she had. Collins left the bank on foot.

Another bank teller watched Collins when left the bank to see which direction he left in and she saw him get into a red car that was parked on the south side of Kentucky Street. The bank teller told police that the car drove north on Kentucky Street towards Johnson School.

Calling the police, a nearby officer saw a car that matched the description and followed it in his squad car. Ward, who was driving the red car, slowed down to allow Collins to jump out of the car. But Ward was quickly apprehended. However, officers had to set up a perimeter in the area, and called K-9 Nitro and other officers to assist in the manhunt. Nitro found Collins hiding between some lattice and a fence in the backyard of a residence in the 4400 block of Victory Avenue.

Both men are being held at the Racine County Jail on a $75,000 bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for  8:30 a.m. June 25.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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