Bank Robbery Insiders Bragged on Facebook; Busted

(Original story at KHOU.com here.)

If you were involved in an insider bank robbery, would you not keep quiet about it to avoid drawing attention to yourself? Because, you know, one of the first things that investigators ask is whether or not insiders are involved? Why would you brag about being inexplicably rich right after your bank has been robbed and your bank is all over the news?

Investigators say Facebook posts led them to bank robbery suspects

by khou.com staff

khou.com

Posted on April 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM

 HOUSTON – Four bank robbery suspects were in federal custody Thursday after investigators say they found incriminating posts about the heist on Facebook.

The robbery occurred on March 23, 2011, at the International Bank of Commerce in the 1500 block of Eldridge Parkway.

Police said two masked suspects, armed with what appeared to be semi-automatic pistols, barged into the bank and demanded money from the tellers.

During the robbery, one of the suspects took cash from the teller drawers while the other directed the tellers to the vault room, where he told them to stay.

The suspects got away with over $62,000 in cash, but they left one of their guns at the scene, police said.

Investigators later determined the gun was fake.

On March 30, investigators got a Crime Stoppers tip that bank employee Stephanie Martinez and her boyfriend, Ricky Gonzalez, were involved in the robbery. The tip directed investigators to check their Facebook pages.

Investigators said they found multiple posts on Martinez and Gonzalez’s pages that appeared to reference the robbery.

On March 21, Martinez’s page had a post that read “GET $$$(,.”

On March 24, the day after the robbery, Gonzalez’s Facebook post read “WOKE UP DIS MORNING! BUST DOWN A SWISHA!!! LOOK IN THE MIRROR LIKE I’M ONE RICH … WIPE MY TEETH WITH HUNDREDS WIPE MY *** WITH DIS 50s :$:$:$:$:$:$.”

On March 25, investigators said Martinez had posted “IM RICH *****” on Gonzalez’s page.

The day before, investigators said Gonzalez posted “U HAVE TO PAST THE LINE SOMETIMES!! TO GET DIS MONEY!!” on Martinez’s page.

When investigators brought Martinez in for questioning, they said she admitted that she was involved in the robbery.

According to court documents, Martinez identified the other suspects as Gonzalez, her coworker, Anna Rivera, and Rivera’s brother, Arturo Salano.

Martinez told police the whole thing was initially Rivera’s idea, because Rivera had been a victim in a previous robbery at the bank and thought it would be easy to stage one, as previous crime had never been solved.

Martinez said she agreed to participate, and the women recruited Gonzalez and Salano.

Martinez said after the heist, they all split the profits evenly at Rivera’s apartment.

Investigators said the other suspects verified Martinez’s story, and all four were arrested.

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Author: Nicholas

Experienced Mortgage Banker at Colorado State Bank and Trust. Effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese. Expert on real estate market in the Front Range.

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