Miami Uber Driver Live-Streams Bank Robbery by Bomb-Toting Passenger UPDATE
An Uber driver live-streamed a bank robbery by this man, who claimed to have a bomb.
via Mikebilly So-Focused's Facebook
Update 12:24 p.m.: The FBI has charged the bank robber, identified as Enrique Antonio Gamez, a 35-year-old Miramar resident. The Uber driver, who has yet to be identified, has not been charged in the incident.
Update 5 p.m.: The Facebook live videos have been removed from the site; New Times has also removed them from this post.
As far as bank robberies go, a holdup at Brickell's Navy Federal Credit Union yesterday afternoon was remarkably chill. A bald man in a neat sports coat calmly told a teller he had a bomb and then watched her fill a pink envelop with cash. Then, as his Uber driver streamed the surreal scene live to Facebook, the man began ranting about why he wanted the money.
"I'm going to surrender, OK, once I give this money away to people who are poor," he told the frightened bank manager. "I just want to speak before Congress."
Miami's weirdest holdup only got stranger from there, as the Uber driver streamed live video for hours as he drove the supposedly bomb-toting man to Ocean Drive, where he showered the cash on random passersby and then called in a bomb threat. Eventually, the FBI swooped in and took both men in to custody.
As for what in hell actually happened, who this man is, and whether the Uber driver was involved in the crime, the feds are apparently still trying to sort it all out. Miami Beach Police officials are as baffled as any of the tens of thousands who watched the video play out live on Facebook.
"The FBI may be filing charges today, but they're handling this investigation, so we don't have any more information," says Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, a spokesman for MBPD.
This much is clear: Just before 5 p.m., the Uber driver — who has a Facebook account under the name "Mikebilly So-Focused" — began live-streaming from the lobby of the Brickell credit union. At first, it's unclear what's happening. The bald man talks to a manger, while other customers calmly do their business.
But it's clear something is wrong; Mikebilly titled the post "omg 911 i need help," and as thousands began watching live, the bald man demanded tellers fill an envelop full of cash. Soon the Uber driver logged back into Facebook to stream his passenger ranting about world politics and showing off his ill-gotten cash.
The man was apparently prompted by Russia's hacking during the election and his insistence that a war was brewing with Moscow.
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"I don't want us to fight a war with Russia," he says during one of the driving videos. "Why are we leading to another world war? That's what the UN is for. That means the UN isn't working. That means our government is not playing fair."
As they head to Miami Beach, the driver continues filming as the man keeps talking about his plans to give away the money and to speak to politicians and the media about his beefs:
By about 5:30, the Uber pulled up near Ninth Street and Ocean Drive. That's where the robber began giving out cash to random people, some of whom sent photos to CBS 4 of them waving wads of cash and grinning.
Around the same time, the robber also apparently phoned in a bomb threat, which drew the FBI and Miami Beach Police to the scene. Both the passenger and Uber driver were taken into custody, and a bomb robot was called to the scene; it's unclear whether any explosives were found in the car.
Many questions remain this morning: Who was this passenger? Was Mikebilly So-Focused an innocent victim in the scheme or a willing participant? Did the feds recover any of the cash given away?
Federal charges could be forthcoming this morning. We'll update this post when more information is released.
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