An Uber driver who was taken hostage by an alleged bomb-carrying bank robber livestreamed the ordeal on Facebook in an attempt to alert police.
In the first live video uploaded to Facebook, the Uber driver and ex-marine under the Facebook name “Mikebilly So-Focused” commented “omg 911 i need help,” before adding “im in trouble bomb,” “he gots (sic) a fucking bomb,” and “im a fucking hostage,” alerting friends and family on the social network.
A suited bald man, the suspected robber, can be seen in the video holding a coat over a device, while instructing bank staff and customers.
In the second live video, the hostage can be seen driving the car with the robber in the passenger seat, who directs a message to the news.
“Any news media that wants to talk to me can call me,” declares the robber, looking at the hostage’s phone. “If anyone has a point of view like mine, that wants peace on the planet, for countries to merge… I don’t want us to fight a war with Russia. Why are we leading to another world war? That’s what the UN is for. That means the UN isn’t working, and that means our government is not playing nice with other people.”
“And it’s not because we don’t want to, it’s because our leaders are not doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re lying to us” he continued. “They’re lying. They’re not leading properly. I think… I’m just very suspicious, and I think it’s very dreadful to say, but they’re being bribed. I think they let themselves be led by special interest groups, and maybe what I’m saying will get me killed.”
In the third live video, the robber can be heard still talking about politics, proclaiming “let’s not kill any innocent people, let’s just merge governments,” while the hostage looks at the camera with a worried expression and declares “he’s got a bomb.”
The robber then shows the camera an envelope of stolen money and a bag where the bomb is allegedly placed, before the hostage repeats his situation, with friends and family seen in the comments section asking him whether it’s real.
“Wtf billy is this real[?]” asked one commented, while another added “Omg Billy please where are u.”
The robber is reported to have later given out the money he took from the bank, with a similar looking individual seen handing out $20 bills to the public.
“At 5 p.m. Monday, viewers shared pictures of a man, who looks like strikingly similar to the one in the Facebook Live, standing on top of a car passing out money as people crowd around him” wrote CBS Miami. “Another picture shows a woman posing with a bunch of $20 bills in her hand.”
Miami Beach spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez claimed that a large component of the investigation was focused on social media.
“A component of this entire investigation as many are aware is social media,” said Rodriguez, confirming that “Earlier in the day, there was a bank robbery in the city of Miami at The Navy Federal Credit Union.”
“The subjects that we have now in custody by the FBI believe to be involved, allegedly” Rodriguez continued. “There was a lot of components, a lot of threats made, which we are investigating in conjunction with federal authorities.”
Several streets were reportedly closed off, while the local bomb squad evaluated the vehicle involved.
— Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) January 10, 2017