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FBI in St. Louis launches bank robbery Web site

Monday, November 30, 2009 | 4:24 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — The FBI in St. Louis has launched a new Web site aimed at helping authorities investigate and solve bank robberies by posting profiles of suspects and surveillance-camera photos of robberies, the agency announced Monday.

The Web site, BanditTrackerStLouis.com, is modeled after similar sites with success in other cities, said St. Louis Special Agent in Charge Roland Corvington. He said in the six months since the FBI's Chicago field office launched its site, it has made eight bank robbery arrests.

The St. Louis area site will include the city and 48 other eastern Missouri counties covered by the FBI's St. Louis field office. Of the 59 bank robberies so far this year in that district, 18 remain unsolved, and most are posted on the new Web site. Authorities believe three crews are responsible for 11 of the robberies.

While the public may still make a confidential tip by calling St. Louis Regional CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS or stlrcs.org, the new site allows for submitting tips electronically as well.

Corvington described the Web site as a "one-stop shop" for members of the public — including the suspect's family and friends — media, and probation and parole officers.

The company, Electronic Tracking Systems, developed and is maintaining the sites.

Rick Batelle, a former St. Louis County Police sergeant, who now heads an ETS regional office in St. Louis, said he's noticed a trend in the regional and national bank robbery reports he's seen.

He said not as many robbers are passing notes to bank tellers, but instead are jumping counters and violently taking over banks.


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