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Bank Robbery 101: Don’t Post Selfies on Facebook

Authorities used Facebook photos to tie a Brooklyn, NY, man to a string of bank robberies in southeast Michigan.

This is one of the photos authorities used to track the suspect in a string of bank robberies in southeast Michigan, Jules Bahler, 21, of Brooklyn, NY. (Photo: Facebook photo released by Oakland County Sheriff's Office)
This is one of the photos authorities used to track the suspect in a string of bank robberies in southeast Michigan, Jules Bahler, 21, of Brooklyn, NY. (Photo: Facebook photo released by Oakland County Sheriff's Office)

If Jules Bahler could get a do-over, would he have posted selfies of himself holding what appeared to be a black submachine gun and others wearing clothing that matched that worn by the bank robbery suspect shown in surveillance video?

The selfies proved to be the undoing of the 21-year-old Brooklyn, NY, resident, who was arrested last week in Pontiac, MI, in connection with robberies at banks there and in Bay City, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Bahler was charged in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court with bank robbery and carrying and using a firearm during a violent crime in connection with a Feb. 26 robbery at the Genisys Credit Union branch at 44400 Woodward in Pontiac, a robbery March 4 at a Bank of America branch at 41 N. Saginaw in Pontiac; and a robbery March 5 at a Chemical Bank branch at 1513 Columbus Ave. in Bay City.

Bahler allegedly passed a note demanding money in the Pontiac robberies, but reportedly used a black submachine gun in Bay City. He got away with about $15,300 in the three robberies.

Federal authorities said in the complaint that the Facebook posts, which also included a picture of a house he had just purchased in Pontiac, led them to Bahler. He was arrested on Friday during a traffic stop of a vehicle in which he was a passenger. A black submachine gun was found when the vehicle was searched, and the clothing worn during the bank robberies was also found during a search of his home.

Bahler confessed to the robberies, according to the affidavit.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s Oakland County Violent Gang Task Force  – which includes members of the sheriff’s office, Bloomfield Township Police Department, MIchigan Department of Corrections, Michigan State Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Waterford Police  Department – worked together on the investigation.

Officials used a digital billboard campaign as part of the investigation, displaying Bahler’s picture in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

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