He fronts a rock band. He wrote a book. He engineered the attempted jailbreak of an alleged Russian mobster. And on Thursday, police said he pulled a daring bank heist only 2 miles from his home while wearing nothing but a baseball cap and sunglasses as a disguise.
Thomas Tynan, 59, escaped the First Midwest Bank at 1415 W. Jefferson St. and made it all the way to Justice before the law closed in and captured him within hours of the robbery, police said.
Tynan was taken from the Will County jail Friday afternoon and was bound for the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. It wasn’t his first trip to a federal lockup.
In August 2001, Tynan pleaded guilty to receiving stolen treasury checks and was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison. Four months later, he pleaded guilty to passing and possessing counterfeit currency and received another four months.
Then, in February 2003, Tynan and his then-wife, Sabrina Tynan, now 45, hatched a plot to spring Thomas’ cellmate – “an alleged member of a Russian kidnapping ring” – from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, according to a story from The Associated Press.
The cellmate, Iouri Mikhel, “allegedly lowered a rope in February from his fifth-floor prison cell at the Metropolitan Detention Center to pick up a pillowcase packed with marijuana and two phones,” the AP story said. “The phones were used to coordinate a second haul later that month in which Mikhel obtained pliers, bolt cutters and other tools, according to an FBI affidavit. He also acquired a video camera that he planned to use to record his escape.”
Sabrina, who has since divorced Tynan and changed her name, asked not to be identified by her new name. She said she was floored when a friend of her in-laws called, made sure she was sitting down and then broke the news of the bank robbery.
“I’m just finding out now,” Sabrina said.
“None of this makes sense – I don’t understand any of this,” she said.
“He’s a distinctive-looking guy,” Sabrina said of her 6-foot-1, 265-pound ex-husband. “You need a burqa to hide that guy. You’d have to dress him up like a Muslim woman.”
Sabrina claimed to know little about what Tynan has been up to lately and suggested talking to one of the nine other members of his band, which is also named Tynan and touts itself as “Chicagoland’s #1 Horn-Driven Party Rock Band.”
The Tynan band’s website said it was scheduled to play at the St. Demetrios Taste of Greece Fall Glendi event in Elmhurst this weekend, but the Rev. Andrew Georganas of St. Demetrios said that was not the case.
Georganas said that Tynan was not listed on the fest flyer and said he believed the band may have been contacted “a long time ago” but not booked.
“As we say in Greek,” Georganas said before translating into English, “He’s not in his right mind.”
Tynan was scheduled to play the Grundy County Corn Festival in Morris the next weekend. Corn Festival organizers failed to respond to a call for comment on the musical lineup.
In addition to his career as the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Tynan, the man Tynan is also the author of the novel “Pair-a-Dimes,” which appears to bear somewhat of a resemblance to his escapades as a federal inmate in Los Angeles.
“Tom Taylor’s overly ambitious ways took him from his dream house in southern California on a path to the Big House, a Federal Penitentiary,” reads a synopsis on Amazon. “Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse, he returned from court to find Iouri Malakova, Russian Mafia kingpin, had moved into his cell while he was gone and then a horrific game of cat and mouse really began!”
Sabrina said the book is a fictionalized account of her husband’s California life of crime and the escape attempt in which she also participated.
Sabrina and Thomas Tynan each pleaded guilty to conspiring to help an inmate escape, according to an AP story. He was sentenced to three years and five months in prison and released in May 2006. She was sentenced to two years and four months and released in May 2005.
Sabrina said Tynan mailed her a copy of the book and she dropped it in the trash without even cracking the cover.
“The last thing I want to do is relive that part of my life,” Sabrina said.
“You know how long it’s taken to get my reputation back?” she asked. “I have a sterling [expletive] reputation.”
She only hopes her ex-husband’s bank robbery case does not tarnish her reputation once again.
“I’m just waiting for the feds to show up and ask me what I know about his money,” she said. “That’s just what everybody wants – the ex-husband who won’t go away.”