Bank Robbery Suspect Gets Caught After He Stops for TV Interview Following Heist: Cops
He doesn't have the sharpest criminal mind in the bank robbery business.
A Georgia man suspected of holding up at least two banks stopped to give an interview with an Atlanta CBS affiliate on the subject of public transportation, police said. And he gave them his real name.
Eric Rivers allegedly robbed and cased several Gwinnet County financial institutions in recent weeks, police said. His mug, captured by surveillance videos, was well known to authorities. They just didn't have his name.
This week, he stopped to chat with CBS46 reporter Ashley Thompson, who was doing a story about traffic congestion in Lawrenceville. The issue was whether the local transit agency, MARTA, could help alleviate heavy car congestion.
"Gwinnet County doesn't really have its own [public] transportation, so MARTA coming out here would really help a lot," Rivers said, removing his hat and do-rag before appearing on camera near a busy intersection, the station reported.
Police contacted Thompson after the interview aired. "I think you caught him off guard. I think you suprised him," Lawrenceville Capt. Scott Pendergrass told CBS46.
The department had a good laugh about Rivers' television debut and posted this to its Facebook page: "If you decide not to accept our advice and go out and rob a bank anyway, we actually have some additional advice for you. This advice is extremely important so again, please pay attention. When after having robbed several banks and you are at another bank casing the place for an additional robbery and are approached by a news crew in the parking lot (covering a completely different story by the way) ... here we go, pay close attention ... DO NOT stop and agree to an interview with said news crew."
Rivers has robbed two banks in the area and was scouting others when he stopped to be interviewed, police said.
"He kind of has a skit that he plays," Pendergrass said. "He goes into them and spends an extended amount of time in the banks."
He was arrested Tuesday night and charged with two felony counts of robbery, according to online records for the Gwinnett County Jail. He is being held without bond. It was not clear whether he had entered a plea.
"We have no other evidence there was anybody else with him, so we would say he's by himself," the detective said.