In most parts of the world, this would be a completely useless description of a bank robber: white male, 30-45 years old, bandage on the left side of his neck. Thanks to advanced database technology, however, that’s all detectives needed to find the robber known as the Striped Hoodie Bandit.
The big break in the case came as a result of database technology developed by Council Associate Partner SunGard Public Sector, technology that helps different police agencies work together. Thanks to the ability to share information with other agencies and the dedication of police to enter even small clues into it, that seemingly vague description pointed to one man.
Helping police agencies cooperate
Before the police caught up with their robbery suspect, he had already robbed three banks and a convenience store. During at least one of the robberies, he flashed a gun at a bank teller. Robbers like this don’t tend to stay within one police jurisdiction and they tend to get more aggressive over time, which together makes finding them quickly difficult, but critical.
Since he robbed places that are under video surveillance, police had pictures of him, but even when detectives went door-to-door they couldn’t find anyone who recognized him. Even police dogs lost his trail.
The answer ultimately came from Police-to-Police (P2P) Data Sharing, a component of SunGard Public Sector’s ONESolution Records Management System. That service links all of the police agencies that use it through one search form. All the agencies that use it can search all of the other members' records for distinctive features about individuals, cases or trends.
A Crimestoppers Coordinator entered what appeared to be an ambiguous description into that database and came up with a name. Police got a warrant for his arrest after they compared pictures of him that were obtained in his previous brushes with the law with the security camera footage from the current robbery streak.
Officers need to be engaged
While the database made the final connection, it’s a connection that wouldn’t have existed if officers didn’t enter information into it in the first place. And in some ways, that was a lucky break in this case.
The description of the bank robber matched the features of a man who was stopped for drunken driving. Typically, police wouldn’t bother with a database entry for a stop like that, but that arrest was made by a rookie officer who took the time to create a detailed record.
The success in solving this difficult case has certainly showed the various police agencies who worked on it the value of working together and using the available tools, even when it seems like you don’t have to. Travis Reams, one of the detectives who worked on the case told the High Point Enterprise this was a so-called kryptonite case – one he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
“You know what it would be like to see Big Foot? You know. The elusive Big Foot,” Reams said. “When he walked in that room, it sent chills down my spine because I was like there he is.”
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