"Just crazy!" Bank robbery suspect busted after stopping for cigarettes during 3-county pursuit

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A bank robbery suspect led police on a wild chase spanning three counties on Tuesday, November 1st -- and it all eventually came to an end in Hartford. A stop for cigarettes led to an arrest of the suspect in this case.

Jamila Searl

"I'm really thankful to be alive," Jamila Searl said. "There was this van speeding up.  He didn`t stop for the light or anything. I was right in the intersection and he had to swerve or I probably would`ve lost my life."

Milwaukee police say the bank robbery happened around 3:35 p.m. at the North Shore Bank located near 60th and Forest Home on the city's southwest side.

Officials say a suspect implied he had a weapon, demanded and obtained money. He fled in a Chevy Express van which Milwaukee police located in the area of 46th and Lisbon Avenue.

North Shore Bank robbery

They attempted a traffic stop -- but the driver fled in the van.  MPD officers pursued the suspect into Waukesha County and eventually Washington County.

Other area jurisdictions also pursued the vehicle.

A deputy attempted to deploy a controlled tire deflation device in the area of Hwy 83 and County Line Road, however, the suspect vehicle drove into the ditch and around the device.

The Sheriff’s Office terminated the pursuit after a second unsuccessful tire deflation attempt was done at Hwy 83 and Lee Road by Hartford Police because the suspect vehicle was entering a highly populated area.

Rapid Mart Plaza

Another deputy positioned himself at the DNR Pike Lake Office on Kettle Moraine, south of Highway 60, and observed the suspect vehicle eastbound on Highway 60.

The vehicle ultimately stopped at a gas station in Hartford -- and the suspect was arrested by the Wisconsin State Patrol after briefly running through a grassy area near Pike Lake Park.

Pursuit after North Shore Bank robbery in Milwaukee

"We observed him pull in to this gas station, exit the vehicle and we engaged in a small foot pursuit -- the culmination of a lot of cooperation between multiple agencies," Lt. Nathan Clarke with the Wisconsin State Patrol said.

"Guy comes in here all frantically, skips our line and tells me he needs a pack of cigarettes.  After I give him his change back, he looks out the window and about eight squad cars are here," Adrianna Groleau, clerk at the gas station said.

"It`s just crazy to do something like that and put people`s lives in danger," Searl said.

Pursuit after North Shore Bank robbery in Milwaukee

Pursuit after North Shore Bank robbery in Milwaukee

Pursuit after North Shore Bank robbery in Milwaukee

The 41-year-old Milwaukee County man was turned over to the ATF.

FOX6 News was told at least two vehicles were struck by the suspect's van.

No one was seriously hurt.