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FBI Releases Mobile App For Finding Bank Robbers

Have you ever wanted to keep track of bank robberies in your neighborhood or city? Or maybe you've always wanted to help the FBI catch a bad guy? As you've no doubt heard before, there's an app for that.

The FBI today released a Bank Robbers mobile app designed to help the public, law enforcement, and financial institutions see and share photos and information about robberies all over the country.

The app allows users to sort bank robberies by date, state, category (armed? disguised? serial offender?), as well as the FBI field station handling the case. You can get surveillance photos, details of the crime, physical descriptions of the suspect as well as the FBI's wanted poster. And if you want, a push notification will tell you when a bank robbery has occurred near your location and a link to the FBI's online tips page.

The Bank Robbers App for iPhones and Android devices is available for free at Apple's app store or Google Play. It works with the FBI's BankRobbber.fbi.gov website launched four years ago.

The Bureau's announcement makes it clear that the app isn't a toy or novelty:

"Because the FBI, in its own bank robbery investigations, focuses on the most violent and/or the most prolific serial offenders who often cross jurisdictions, the suspects included on BankRobbers.fbi.gov are a dangerous lot and public assistance in identifying them plays a crucial role in our efforts to apprehend them."

The FBI reports that there were 4,091 robberies, burglaries, and larcenies of a variety of financial institutions in 2015. The mobile app also will help the FBI spread the word about robbers it has tagged with unique and sometimes wacky names like the "Bad Rug Bandit," or "Attila the Bun." Such colorful names tend to hook public attention to the suspects.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.