Truesee's Daily Wonder

Truesee presents the weird, wild, wacky and world news of the day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

 

Bank Robbers post on Facebook: "I'm Rich"

Heist suspect's post: 'IM RICH'

Boasts on Facebook lead feds to the arrest of 4 in Houston bank robbery

SUSAN CARROLL
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

April 21, 2011, 9:26PM

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.

A lesson to be learned

An attorney for Martinez, Richard Kuniansky, described his client as "young and immature," suggesting there is a lesson in her current predicament.

"I've always heard that you shouldn't post pictures of yourself on Facebook smoking pot or drinking because employers are now looking at Facebook pages," he said. "But I never knew there should be a warning not to post about a bank robbery that's been committed."

The Facebook posts by Martinez and Gonzalez about the bank heist were part of a criminal complaint unsealed in Houston federal court this week.

Authorities allege Martinez and teller Anna Margarita Rivera started planning the bank heist at 1545 Eldridge Parkway about a month in advance. Rivera told investigators that she was working at the same bank during a robbery on Nov. 17 and "believed staging the robbery would be easy" since she'd never heard of anyone being arrested in connection with that theft.

Martinez enlisted Gonzalez, and Rivera recruited her brother, 22-year-old Arturo Solano, according to the complaint.

The tellers told investigators that they made sure they were the only ones working during the robbery. Wearing plastic masks purchased from a dollar store, Gonzalez and Solano entered the bank about 5:45 p.m. and jumped over the teller counter, demanding money, according to investigators. While one suspect cleaned out the cash drawers, the other took Martinez and Rivera to the vault.

Martinez and Rivera took steps to make the robbery look legitimate. They included tracking devices in the money bags, instructing Gonzalez and Solano to ditch them right away, investigators said. One of the suspects left behind his gun, which turned out to be plastic.

'Trying to be funny'

The celebratory Facebook posts started shortly after they divided the loot at Rivera's apartment, officials say.

"U HAVE TO PAST THE LINE SOMETIMES!! TO GET DIS MONEY!!" Gonzalez posted on his Facebook page the day after the theft.

Lance Craig Hamm, an attorney for Gonzalez, said his client was not talking about the robbery on his Facebook page. "He literally was just talking, trying to have fun, trying to be funny," Hamm said.

Two days after the heist, Martinez posted about being "RICH." Kuniansky said Martinez is a single mother and had plans to go to college. Now she faces up to 10 years in prison, he said.

An attorney for Rivera could not be reached for comment. No attorney was listed in federal court records for Solano.

A Facebook page for "Ricko Gee" Gonzalez of Houston was still up as of Thursday evening. Under employer, it read: "Make money both ways Dirty and Clean!!

Law enforcement tool

It's not just tech-savvy, big-city types like the FBI-led Houston Area Bank Robbery Task Force that use Facebook as a law enforcement tool. In March, Texas Parks and Wildlife Game wardens used it to track down the killer of an 11½-foot alligator in Bastrop County.

Andy Kahan, the city of Houston's crime victim advocate, said he was tipped off about a Facebook page on which a probationer, who wasn't supposed to be drinking, posted photos of himself holding bottles of liquor and beer and an open invitation to a party featuring "trash can punch."

One post read: "Probation on the 23rd - party's gotta be moved - sorry folks. On the upside, that just means more time to plan."

Kahan said he contacted the probation department and said: "I've got a gift-wrapped delivery for you."


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

Archives

June 2021   May 2021   April 2021   March 2021   February 2021   January 2021   December 2020   November 2020   October 2020   September 2020   August 2020   July 2020   June 2020   May 2020   April 2020   March 2020   February 2020   January 2020   December 2019   November 2019   October 2019   September 2019   August 2019   July 2019   June 2019   May 2019   April 2019   March 2019   February 2019   January 2019   December 2018   November 2018   October 2018   September 2018   August 2018   July 2018   June 2018   May 2018   April 2018   March 2018   February 2018   January 2018   December 2017   November 2017   October 2017   September 2017   August 2017   July 2017   June 2017   May 2017   April 2017   March 2017   February 2017   January 2017   December 2016   November 2016   October 2016   September 2016   August 2016   July 2016   June 2016   May 2016   April 2016   March 2016   February 2016   January 2016   December 2015   November 2015   October 2015   September 2015   August 2015   July 2015   June 2015   May 2015   April 2015   March 2015   February 2015   January 2015   December 2014   November 2014   October 2014   September 2014   August 2014   July 2014   June 2014   May 2014   April 2014   March 2014   February 2014   January 2014   December 2013   November 2013   October 2013   September 2013   August 2013   July 2013   June 2013   May 2013   April 2013   March 2013   February 2013   January 2013   December 2012   November 2012   October 2012   September 2012   August 2012   July 2012   June 2012   May 2012   April 2012   March 2012   February 2012   January 2012   December 2011   November 2011   October 2011   September 2011   August 2011   July 2011   June 2011   May 2011   April 2011   March 2011   February 2011   January 2011   December 2010   November 2010   October 2010   September 2010   August 2010   July 2010   June 2010   May 2010   April 2010   March 2010   February 2010   January 2010   December 2009   November 2009   October 2009   September 2009   August 2009   July 2009   June 2009   May 2009   April 2009   March 2009   February 2009   January 2009   December 2008  

Powered by Lottery PostSyndicated RSS FeedSubscribe