Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 1, 2013

Bank robbery suspects charged

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — One of the suspects in the robbery of an Altamont bank earlier this week had been imprisoned for second-degree murder in Missouri.

Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said Altonio G. Graves, 37, served 15 years in a Missouri prison for second-degree murder and also has a robbery conviction.

Judge Allen Bennett set bond for Graves at $1 million after finding probable cause to hold him on robbery charges. Bond for co-defendant Annelise S. McGhee, 26, was set at $500,000.

Kibler said Graves also faces a parole violation charge.

Graves, of Florissant, Mo., and McGhee, of St. Louis, were formally charged Thursday with one count of aggravated robbery. Kibler said police believe Graves is the man who robbed Peoples Bank & Trust in Altamont Tuesday afternoon, while McGhee is accused under the theory of accountability of helping her co-defendant "case" the bank by walking into the building before the robbery, as well as driving the getaway car.

McGhee could receive up to 15 years in prison, while Graves' prior convictions could get him a 20-year sentence under Illinois' extended term law.

Kibler said after the hearing that McGhee has no criminal history.

During his argument for probable cause, Kibler said McGhee walked into the bank at about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday to ask if she could open a savings account.

"It was her job to see the bank's security features," Kibler said.

Kibler said police believe Graves walked into the bank minutes later and demanded money. The robbery netted a total of $7,390.

Kibler said the robber ran toward nearby Altamont Grade School, where a running car was waiting for him. The school was locked down until the suspects were located.

Less than an hour later, Kibler said, police spotted the suspect vehicle on Interstate 70 near Vandalia and began giving chase at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour after trying to initiate a traffic stop.

During the chase, Kibler said, the occupants of the suspect vehicle began throwing items out the window. The chase ended at 2:45 p.m., he said, when the vehicle veered into the median near Greenville while trying to avoid stop sticks that Bond County deputies had placed on the interstate.

Kibler said police found more than $2,000 in Graves' clothing, as well as a .45 caliber pistol. He said police recovered most of the money taken in the heist.

Kibler said McGhee told police they committed the robbery because she and Graves "needed money."

Bennett assigned both defendants a public defender and ordered them to appear in court at 11 a.m. March 14.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com