New Website Profiles Bank Robbers Throughout Eastern Missouri
|FBI St. Louis November 30, 2009|
Roland J. Corvington, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI in St. Louis, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Dan Isom, St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch and Capt. David Kaiser with the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Office announced a new website that will help in investigating and solving bank robberies.
The website, www.bandittrackerstlouis.com, features photos and descriptions of individuals who robbed banks throughout the 48 counties and the City of St. Louis covered by the FBI’s St. Louis office. The site also plots where the crimes occurred on a map. To submit a tip, visitors to the website can either call “Crimestoppers” and remain completely anonymous or submit tips on-line around the clock.
People can now go to just one website to see all the bank robbers who are still at large within the eastern half of Missouri. SAC Corvington said, “This new website will be a very effective tool for identifying and catching bank robbery suspects because it provides 24-hour access to citizens, bank employees and the news media. Law enforcement can also use the site as a clearing house to see if their suspect committed a robbery in another jurisdiction.”
Other FBI offices have launched similar BanditTracker™ sites with great success. Notable captures attributed to the sites include: the arrest of a suspect in the serial robberies in Houston, San Antonio and Austin; the capture of a suspect in a $1 million armored car robbery in Dallas; a capture in Little Rock, Arkansas just days after the launch of its site, and the arrest of the notorious Scarecrow Bandit ring in Dallas. The Chicago Office, which recently launched BanditTracker™ just six months ago, credits the website in helping arrest at least eight suspects.
Chief Fitch said, “In this age in time, it is key for the law enforcement community to grasp technological advances in an effort to combat and investigate crime. This tool provides the opportunity for law enforcement, private business, and the public to join forces in these efforts.”
The sites receive exposure on more than a dozen Internet search engines. As a result, BanditTracker™ has visitors from 123 different countries and more than 6,300 different cities. To date, BanditTracker™ sites have received more than 275,000 visits with suspect photos displayed more than 5 million times.
The first of the BanditTracker™ sites was designed two-and-a-half years ago in 2007 by the FBI, the North Texas Crime Commission, and Electronic Tracking Systems (ETS). ETS (based in Carrollton, Texas) provides bank and financial institution security systems. The use of BanditTracker™ is free to law enforcement agencies. Rick Battelle, Regional Managing Director of ETS said, “We are very pleased that the ETS-facilitated Community Coalition, consisting of financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and our company can provide the unique support offered by the BanditTracker™ site to aid our law enforcement partners in St. Louis.”
So far this year, there have been 59 bank robberies with 70 percent of those cases solved in Eastern Missouri. Last year’s total was 45. In the last 10 years, the record was set in 2002 with 77 bank robberies.
The St. Louis FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, which investigates the bulk of bank robberies in the St. Louis area, is comprised of FBI special agents and detectives from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis County Police Department, St. Charles County Sheriff’s Office, and the Creve Coeur Police Department.