Federal Charges May Come to Des Moines Robbery Suspect

DES MOINES -- A Monday afternoon robbery could result in federal charges for the suspect after police say he used an alleged explosive to rob the Des Moines Tradesman Credit Union.

Police say 51 year-old Christopher Weckman went into the Tradesman Credit Union on South East 14th yesterday with a duffel bag and told the staff he had a bomb.

“They complied, they gave him some money and he took off.  We got a good description of him leaving.  Our officers were able to locate him on the South side about seven miles from the bank.  He bailed out of the getaway car and took off running on foot.  While he did that he discarded a duffel bag” said Des Moines Spokesman Paul Parizek.

Police say he threw the bag into a resident's trash can on Phillip Street.  When police looked inside they saw wires and a circuit board which seemed legitimate enough to call out the bomb squad.  The crew locked the street down and carried out a controlled detonation.

“From that point to now there's going to be some lab analysis and forensic examination to determine if it's actually a real bomb” said Parizek.

Meanwhile, residents in the neighborhood had to deal with a scene.

“We didn't know what was going on, we're sitting there watching out the window and saw these police cars and we didn't see any other person so we didn't know what was going on until the five o’clock news and we heard that it was a bank robbery at the credit union and they caught the guy 8-10 minutes later! It's scary, you know right across the street from you because you don't know if they're going to try and break in to your house!” said Marlene Harvey.

Des Moines Police say federal agencies are involved and they may be the ones that charge Weckman.

“The circumstances that he created, bring in an alleged explosive device into the bank, the threats he made and how he behaved after that. We promptly called the FBI and the ATF and got them involved. They've got some resources that we don't have and the ability to probably prosecute him and lock him up a little bit longer than we would have stateside” said Parizek.

Police say an adult female that was detained during the investigation has not yet been charged in the case.