Who's Behind Listverse?
Jamie founded Listverse due to an insatiable desire to share fascinating, obscure, and bizarre facts. He has been a guest speaker on numerous national radio and television stations and is a five time published author.More About Us
10 Status Updates That Ruined Otherwise Successful Bank Robberies
How much is too much when it comes to posting updates on social media? It’s one thing to keep your audience engaged and up to date, but it’s also all too easy to suddenly be spamming your own newsfeed.
Let’s face it, some people are just chronic over-sharers, posting information they should have kept to themselves. Case in point, here are ten instances where a status update has ruined what was an otherwise pretty successful bank robbery. Ten times when criminals should’ve paused before hitting post, or perhaps stuck to posting cute cat videos or pics of the plate of eggs Benedict from the cafe down the street. Then, they might’ve stood a chance of getting away with it.
Note: The social media posts shown are as seen on social media, so the typos all belong to the bank robbers themselves.
10 Daniel Jones
Welshman Daniel Jones got away with nearly £10,000 when he robbed a bank, a McDonald’s, a post office, a newsagent, and a taxi driver over the course of a five-day crack cocaine-fueled crime spree.
Jones first robbed a taxi driver at knifepoint. Later that same morning, he walked into a newsagent (a small store that retails newspapers, magazines, candy, and such) and threatened the storekeeper with a potato peeler. Yes, a potato peeler. When the worker refused to empty the cash register, he snatched half a dozen packs of cigarettes and ran.
Jones next stole a knife from a supermarket and walked into a nearby Lloyds Bank, where he waved the blade at the tellers, demanding that they give him money. He then grabbed banknotes from the register totaling around £1,500 before making his getaway on foot. The fourth robbery was at a McDonald’s a few days later, where he nabbed some £600. Finally, the next day, again armed with a kitchen knife, Jones robbed a post office, taking some £7,000.
Lloyds Bank offered a £25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the knife-wielding robber. It didn’t take long for there to be a result, as Jones had been boasting on Facebook that he was the “top bank robber” in the area. The post was also illustrated with several knife emojis. After following up on the tips, police found Jones at home, smoking crack. Jones immediately admitted to all the robberies and even handed over £2,000 that he had stolen.
Jones is thought to have committed nearly 100 crimes across the city of Cardiff during his criminal career. He ultimately pleaded guilty to five counts of robbery and five counts of possessing a blade. At his sentencing hearing, Judge Jeremy Jenkins asserted, “I am quite satisfied, having regard to what I have read about you, that you are a dangerous offender.”
9 Hannah Sabata
There are diabolical criminal masterminds, and then there’s Hannah Sabata from Nebraska. The teen-mom high-school dropout who robbed a bank at gunpoint in 2012 then blew it when she posted a truly bizarre video on YouTube. In the seven-minute long oddball video, titled “Chick Bank Robbery,” which has been viewed more than 2.2 million times, Sabata claims that she stole more than $6,000 and a car, using a “gun, a pillow case, and a note.” She then proceeds to fan herself with a large wad of stolen cash.
In the grainy clip, Sabata tells her story using a combination of subtitles and hand-written captions, accompanied by a Green Day soundtrack. She described her one-woman crime spree as “the best day of my life” and explained that she would use her ill-gotten gains to pay off her student loans and go on a shopping spree.
Unsurprisingly, the police soon came knocking on Sabata’s door, where they found all but some $30 of the stolen cash. Not only had the YouTube upload given the game away, but the car stolen by Sabata allegedly contained a piece of jewelry with her name on it.
Sabata was charged with armed robbery and car theft. She was given a lengthy prison term, which apparently hasn’t been going well, as she has since been sentenced to additional time behind bars for attacking a prison guard.
8 Arlando Henderson
Bank employee Arlando Henderson was living the high life. His social media posts showed the wannabe rapper flashing about wads of cash, posing with his new Mercedes Benz, and brandishing an AK-47. But it turned out that the 28-year-old Wells Fargo employee had been regularly visiting the vault and systematically helping himself to customers’ cash deposits, an estimated $88,000 in all.
Not content with the haul of cash, Henderson generated bogus bank statements in order to convince a loan company to finance the purchase of the luxury Benz, using the stolen money for the down payment and a line of credit to pay off the balance.
Henderson allegedly also falsified or destroyed documents and bank records to cover up his systematic pilfering. In some instances, he even had other bank employees unwittingly do it for him. “I make it look easy, but the sh*t really a process,” he bragged to his Facebook followers.
Henderson faces dozens of charges, including theft, fraud, and embezzlement. If found guilty, he may face some 30 years behind bars, as well as additional penalties of millions in fines.
7 Jules Bahler
In 2014, a bank robber casually strode into a bank in Bay City, Michigan, brandishing an automatic assault weapon and walking out with some $7,000 in cash. That very same day, 21-year-old Jules Bahler posted bathroom selfies wielding a gun and wearing clothing that bore an uncanny resemblance to the robber’s.
Someone tipped off the local sheriff’s department, and Bahler was arrested by the FBI. According to the FBI affidavit, in addition to the Bay City robbery, Bahler had also carried out two further robberies in nearby Pontiac, Michigan, netting a further $8,300. When he was arrested by the FBI, the weapon used to commit the robberies was found in a duffle bag in his car. Bahler has admitted that he committed all three bank robberies.
Before the arrest, a friend had advised Bahler not to delete the incriminating selfies. “U tripping, brotha,” he warned, “I wouldn’t show that sh*t off like that cops be watching this sh*t, brotha.”
As it turns out, they were.
6 Jesse Hippolite
Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Hippolite really admired William Sutton, a prolific bank robber who stole an estimated $2 million over the course of his 40-year criminal career. Hippolite even called himself “Willie Sutton Jr.” on Facebook, providing police with a clue as to his own illegal activities.
Unlike his idol Sutton, Hippolite was anything but discreet about his criminal intentions. A mere 45 minutes before he robbed a branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank in Brooklyn, New York, Hippolite posted, “I Gotta Get that $$$$$ Man!” Then post-heist, Hippolite posted selfies showing himself with large wads of $100 bills, boasting how “crime pays my bills.” He also mused online for all to see, ” What If We All Got Fed Up With This Recession And Started Running Inside Every F***ing Bank To Give Us The Money That Belong To Us???”
Hippolite robbed a total of three banks in 2013 alone, not using a weapon of any kind but rather doing the business with a menacing note to bank tellers. He is thought to have gotten away with approximately $32,000. However, one bank teller had the presence of mind to take note of Hippolite’s license plate number. FBI investigators, using license plate reader camera systems in the area, linked Hippolite’s vehicle to a whopping 19 bank robberies that had taken place in the vicinity over several years.
A quick search of the suspect’s Facebook profile provided all the final confirmation authorities needed. Now busted because of his ill-advised self-promotion, Hippolite found himself facing 20 years in prison for each robbery.
5 Ryan Homsley
When Ryan Homsley robbed a bank in downtown Portland, Oregon, in 2010, he was clad in a dapper striped shirt and horn-rimmed glasses. When authorities released surveillance camera images of the heist, he was quickly dubbed the “Where’s Waldo Bandit” due to his striking resemblance to the comical character.
When Waldo… I mean, Homsley… struck again a month later in nearby Tualatin, he gave a bank teller a note asking for $2,000, adding “no die pack or boom!” Fortunately, the box he’d placed on the counter was merely a prop, and he walked out of the bank with a paltry $505.
Reveling in the media attention that his exploits were getting, he posted the bank surveillance photos on his Facebook page, even confirming that he was indeed “Waldo.” Unfortunately for Homsley, authorities were alerted to the posts, and he was arrested.
Homsley, a heroin addict, was sentenced to prison for both robberies. “I feel so ashamed for my actions,” he said.
4 Arthur Pillart
Friends and family of Arthur Pillart were mystified when he posted a farewell message on Facebook. In part, it stated, “well i guess ya’ll know what happened and it was the dumbest thing i have ever done im pretty sure! i apologize to everyone that helped me out i shoulda listened to everybody i am leaving my lasy message on facebook i hope that when i get home we can still be friends.”
Some friends quickly realized what he was alluding to, replying, “wait wait wait it wasn’t u that robbed that bank was it???” Pillart had indeed walked into a Citizens Bank in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, and demanded money. The bank teller obliged but also slipped an exploding dye pack into the plastic grocery bag that Pillart had handed over. While making a getaway, the dye pack exploded. Pillart and an accomplice/getaway driver, Jessica Artana, were forced to throw the bag containing the ruined money out of the car window.
Saxonburg Police Chief Joe Beachem explained that “through the investigation, we discovered we needed to talk to Mr. Pillart.” Pillart and Artana were charged with robbery and conspiracy. A friend of Pillart’s weighed in on the incriminating Facebook post, stating, “dude. you are a good person and shouldn’t be doing these things. Use this time to get yourself straight. You have a lot of time on your hands to figure out what to do. good luck.”
3 Dominyk Alfonseca
Facebook is not the only way police have garnered vital information to assist in catching a bank robber. Instagram has also played a part. One instance occurred in 2015 when 23-year-old Dominyk Alfonseca, another aspiring rapper, thought nothing of posting pictures and videos of his heist on his Instagram account.
Alfonseca claimed that he was innocent and did nothing wrong, despite his posts showing a bank teller reading his threatening note and stuffing bundles of cash into a duffel bag. The typo-laden note read: “I need 150,000 Bands Right NOW!!” and “Please Police take 3 to 4 minites to get here, I would appriceate if you Ring the alarm a minute after I am gone… Make sure the money doesn’t BLOW UP ON MY WAY OUT :-)” The smiley face was a non-threatening, friendly touch don’t you think?
After casually walking out of the TowneBank in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Alfonesca then posted photos of the note along with actual videos of the deed on his Instagram account. Not long after, he was arrested, all of 22 minutes after leaving the bank with his haul of cash.
In a jailhouse interview, Alfonesca insists that he wasn’t threatening and was actually polite, claiming he had been sure to say “please” and “thank you” to bank staff. He contends that if anyone was at fault, it was the bank teller because she gave him the money. “In my eyes, I did not commit a robbery, and I feel I’m being charged without reason,” Alfonseca said, adding, “I don’t want to get her in trouble. Maybe she made a mistake… For real, I felt like I got robbed because they gave me the money.”
2 Estefany Martinez and Pals
Just two days before the International Bank of Commerce in Houston, Texas, was robbed, 19-year-old bank teller Estefany Martinez posted a status update on her Facebook page stating, “Get $$$.” Then two days later, she updated her friends, family, and followers with a none-too-subtle “IM RICH …” followed by an expletive that rhymes with “rich.” Another post that same day described how she could now “WIPE MY TEETH WITH HUNDEREDS.”
Acting on tips that came into the Crime Stoppers hotline following the robbery, local authorities checked out the incriminating cyber trail left by Martinez and her boyfriend, Ricky Gonzalez. Mere days after the robbery, authorities arrested Martinez, Gonzalez, and two accomplices, charging them with the theft of an estimated $62,000.
Apparently, the heist was planned for all of a month, with Martinez being the criminal “mastermind” behind it. In addition to her boyfriend Gonzalez, she also recruited another teller, Anna Rivera, and her older brother, Arturo Solano.
The robbery occurred when Martinez and Rivera were the only tellers in the bank. Armed with toy guns and wearing bargain store masks, Gonzalez and Solano entered the bank and demanded money. Unfortunately, the two teenage tellers were all too obliging, emptying cash drawers and taking money from the vault. To make the robbery appear all the more authentic, tracking devices were slipped into the bags as per bank security protocols, but they were quickly discarded.
The attorney acting for Martinez, Richard Kuniansky, wryly commented, “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,” adding that “I never knew there should be a warning not to post about a bank robbery that’s been committed.”
1 John Mogan and Ashley Duboe
Keeping a low profile didn’t occur to Ohio couple John Mogan and Ashley Duboe after they robbed the Savings Bank in Ashville in 2015. Instead, they plastered pictures of themselves all over social media, posing blatantly with massive wads of their ill-gotten gains.
Authorities said that Mogan had robbed the bank simply by handing the teller a note demanding money. The teller handed over $6,430 in cash. Police later revealed how the unemployed Mogan became a person of interest in the crime. They were made aware of the series of pictures on Facebook showing him smugly posing with several large wads of cash.
Mogan’s girlfriend and getaway driver, Ashley Duboe, was also charged in relation to her part in the robbery. She also posed with Mogan in several of the incriminating photos. They both were charged with third-degree felony charges of robbery and fifth-degree felony charges of theft and sentenced to three years in prison. They were also ordered to repay the stolen cash.
Several photos show the heavily tattooed Mogan posing with a wad of bills stuffed in his mouth. A study published in 2017 revealed just how much of a bio-hazard cash can be. Researchers swabbed $1 bills from a bank in New York City and determined that it harbors thousands upon thousands of microbes from hundreds of different species. While most are harmless, you may want to think twice before munching on a big ole wad of it. Ick!