Men arrested after wild police pursuits now charged with robbing banks

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BOSTON (WPRI) — Two men already in custody for allegedly leading police on a pair of high-speed chases in mid-September have now been charged with robbing two Massachusetts banks.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, Charles Lamont Wheeler and Dong Lee were both charged Wednesday with two counts of bank robbery in federal court in Boston.

Police allege the two men entered banks in Avon and Brockton on Sept. 14 and used a note to rob them of more than $7,500 in total.

Following a reported hit-and-run crash later that same day, a white sedan believed to be connected to the robberies was spotted by a Massachusetts State Police trooper on Route 1 in Foxboro. The driver refused to pull over and a lengthy, high-speed pursuit ensued, which ended when the driver lost control and crashed on I-95. 

The two occupants of the vehicle ran off into the woods nearby, according to police. Lee was captured a short time later and prosecutors said he was found to be in possession of thousands of dollars, along with a note demanding money.

Wheeler initially eluded police but was arrested following another chase on and around Route 1 in North Attleboro, during which a state trooper crashed his cruiser. Police allege Wheeler stole a vehicle from a nearby gas station prior to the chase and at one point, drove the wrong way on Route 1. He also had thousands of dollars on his person, prosecutors said.

Wheeler, 46, of Weymouth, and Lee, 48, of Providence, were arraigned in the days that followed on charges connected to the pursuits. Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News revealed both men have extensive criminal histories.

Lelling’s office said for the bank robberies, both men face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $250,000.

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