Pharos-Tribune

September 2, 2009

WEB FIRST: Suspected bank robbery accomplice arrested

Police believe second suspect still in Mexico

by Kevin Lilly

PERU — Indiana State Police have made an arrest in the July 27 robbery of a Bunker Hill bank.

Thirty-year-old Rebecca R. Imus of Peru was arrested Tuesday on a class C felony charge of aiding, inducing or causing the offense of bank robbery.

Imus was taken into custody at the Indiana State Police Post in Peru. She remained in the Miami County Jail under a $12,000 surety bond Wednesday morning.

Early Tuesday, Imus contacted Detective Tony Frawley from Anderson, where she had been staying since returning from Mexico. She was transported to Peru to meet with Frawley and Miami County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Mike Rogers.

According to a news release, their investigation revealed that Imus, a neighbor and friend of bank robbery suspect Valerie Sue Castellano, 27, Peru, allegedly had prior knowledge of Castellano’s intent to rob the American Trust Federal Savings Bank in Bunker Hill. Imus purportedly traveled with Castellano when she obtained the disguise worn during the robbery. Also, the investigation reportedly revealed that Imus was in the getaway car, with Castellano’s three sons, when the robbery was committed. Imus then fled to Mexico City with Castellano and Castellano’s children.

Investigators were in contact with Imus days after the robbery. While at a Mexico City gas station, Castellano allegedly stole Imus’s identity information, including her birth certificate. She then abandoned Imus at the station. Detectives had been working with Imus to aid in her return to the United States. The task proved difficult because Imus had no identifying information or money. Imus eventually obtained an emergency passport and re-entered the United States.

Valerie Castellano is believed to still be in Mexico with her three sons, ages 9, 3 and 2. Investigators believe the boys could be in danger. Castellano is a white female who is 5-foot-8 and weighs about 230 pounds. She has brown hair and blue eyes. Her case is profiled on the Web site of America’s Most Wanted at www.amw.com/fugitives/.

• Kevin Lilly is news editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at (574) 732-5117 or kevin.lilly@pharostribune.com