Facebook status posts led to four arrests for bank robbery. Image: Flickr / birgerking / CC BY

Sharing just about everything on Facebook nowadays seems like second nature to many. For one group of young bank robbers, sharing their exploits on Facebook landed them in jail. Law enforcement checked Facebook after an anonymous tip alerted them to the appearance of the postings.

Houston bank robbery

On March 24, the International Bank of Commerce in Houston was robbed. Allegedly, two tellers who worked at the bank recruited two more individuals to pull of a bank robbery. Close to closing time on March 23, two masked men came into the bank and demanded money. Two tellers went into the vault, handed over $62,201, and were then left in the vault as the robbers left. The tellers called 911 a few minutes after the robbery. Estefany Danelia Martinz and Anna Margarita Rivera were reportedly the tellers who organized the heist, and Ricky Gonzalez and Arturo Solano were the alleged robbers.

Facebook posts highlight robberies

Two days before the robbery, Martinez reportedly wrote on her Facebook page “Get $$$(:”. The day after the robbery, Gonzalez wrote “Wipe my teeth with hundereds” [sic] on his Facebook page. Gonzales reportedly wrote “U have to past the line sometimes!! To get dis money” at about the same time Martinez wrote “I’m rich.” Attorneys for the arrested foursome are saying that these Facebook posts were not about the robbery. Instead, the attorneys say “it was just young kids talking” about a stressful situation.

The use of social networking as evidence

FBI and law enforcement officials were not initially searching Facebook for information about the bank robbery. An anonymous tip led the investigators to the Facebook pages. The growing popularity of Facebook has led to a comparative rise in the number of civil and legal court cases that cite Facebook as evidence. Social networks can easily be used as evidence, and in many cases, suspects do not even have their networks privacy-protected to the point that a warrant would be required.


CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/04/22/texas.heist.facebook/index.html?hpt=T2

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