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Police on the hunt for 'armed, dangerous' ex-deputy

Simonton: Mendota man charged with home invasion contacted victims, violated bond

Lowell Maxwell "Max" Ambler
Lowell Maxwell "Max" Ambler

DIXON – Police are looking for a former LaSalle County deputy, considered armed and dangerous, who was out on bond when he apparently violated the terms of his release by contacting the mother of the teenage girl he’s accused of holding against her will.

Lowell Maxwell “Max” Ambler, 46, of Mendota, may have a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, Sheriff John Simonton said in a news release this afternoon.

The search was focused on Plainfield in Will County. Ambler stole a Freightliner semi; the vehicle was found near the Plainfield home of his victim, and Plainfield North High School was put on soft lockdown during the search, Simonton and other police agencies said. All students were dismissed at 2:30 p.m.

Ambler was arrested Sept. 15 and charged with home invasion and aggravated kidnapping, both of which carry 6 to 30 years in prison. He posted $25,000 of his $250,000 bond on Sept. 20, Lee County Court records show.

According to court records, including a narrative from the girl’s mother:

Ambler, who had been in a relationship with the mother, entered the unlocked home in Compton in rural Lee County on Aug. 26, while “wearing a hood, robe or mask.” He grabbed the girl, who was babysitting, pushed her head into a couch then dragged her through the house, pushing her down the outside steps.

He picked her up, choked her from behind, duct-taped her hands behind her back and dragged her to a shed. As the girl pleaded for him not to kill her, he duct-taped her around her head and mouth. She couldn’t breathe and passed out, and he tossed her into a bean field.

A car arrived, Ambler took off, the girl broke free and officers were called, court records show.

A warrant was issued for his arrest after he contacted the girl’s mother on Sunday, Simonton said. Law enforcement has been looking for him since.

Violating the terms of his release is a misdemeanor; Ambler was charged with that on Monday, when the warrant was issued.

He made a court appearance Wednesday in the felony case; his next hearing was set for Nov. 6.

According to the girl’s mother, he owns a .20- and a .22-gauge shotgun, a 9-mm handgun and a muzzleloader. He has an unspecified job in Yorkville, she told authorities.

His father, Lowell Ambler, is a former LaSalle County deputy sheriff.

“My worst fear is that if he bails out, he will think he has nothing left to lose and come to kill me or my daughter,” she told authorities. “I also fear that he knows how to get away with things since he is a former deputy.”

Ambler, also a former Earlville police officer, is white, 6-foot, 200 to 230 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.

Anyone who sees Ambler, or who has any information, is advised not to approach him, but to call the Lee County Sheriff’s Department at 815-284-5217, Mendota police at 815-539-9331, or the anonymous reward tip line, Lee-Ogle Crime Stoppers, at 888-228-4411.

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