Friday, April 22, 2011

Bank Robbers Downfall Was Facebook

I know all the TV crime shows portray criminals as sophisticated and smart reality doesn't always match up. Actually, reality rarely matches up. To prove it, there is this story over at the Houston Chronicle on a group of bank robbers who's Facebook posts proved to be their undoing.

Two days before a west Houston bank heist, a 19-year-old bank teller named Estefany Martinez posted a cryptic status update on her Facebook page: "Get $$$."'

It would take a little over a week and a Crime Stoppers tip before investigators unraveled the plot twist behind the March 23 robbery of the International Bank of Commerce on Eldridge Parkway.

What looked on surveillance video to be a classic bank robbery — with armed, masked suspects and terrorized bank tellers — turned out to be an amateurish inside job, allegedly orchestrated by two 19-year-old tellers with the help of a boyfriend and an older brother.

Using an incriminating trail of Facebook posts left by Martinez and her 18-year-old boyfriend, Ricky "Ricko Gee" Gonzalez, detectives arrested four suspects this week on bank theft charges, alleging they made off with $62,000.

Their Facebook pages held not-so-subtle clues: Two days after the robbery, Martinez posted: "IM RICH …" followed by a rhyming expletive.

"WIPE MY TEETH WITH HUNDEREDS …" her boyfriend allegedly posted the day after the heist. He also boasted of wiping another part of his anatomy with $50 bills.

I always like it when they make our job easier. Crimes like these show the importance of reviewing all these digital clues like Facebook, computers and smartphones when conducting these types of investigations.

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