Son of Legendary Columnist Mike Royko Arrested in Bank Heist

By: (AP) A son of late newspaper columnist Mike Royko was arrested Friday after he allegedly walked into a bank with a device rigged to look like a pipe bomb and demanded a bag of cash, authorities said.

Robert Royko entered the Associated Bank, pulled a device from a black box and put it on a desk, saying it was a bomb, FBI agents wrote in court documents. He then put on a ski mask and handed the teller a bag, demanding it be filled with money, the agents wrote.

Royko told the bank guard that he had a remote-control device that could detonate the bomb if anyone tried to stop him, but the guard, an off-duty Chicago police officer, slapped the device out of Royko's hand and arrested him, the agents said.

The device was made up of two pipes, nails, a circuit board and duct tape, but no explosives, according to the agents.

Royko, 41, of Johnsburg, was charged with attempted bank robbery. He appeared briefly before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan and was ordered held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center pending a hearing Tuesday.

A defense attorney and family friend who accompanied Royko to court said he will plead innocent.

"This case is a bank robbery but what the case is really about is an American tragedy -- alcohol and drug abuse, which touches almost every family in America," attorney Patrick O'Byrne told reporters.

He said Royko had a longtime drinking problem.

Mike Royko, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who worked for three Chicago newspapers, died in 1997.

O'Byrne said Robert Royko has been working as an insurance salesman and previously owned a music shop and played guitar in a rock band.


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