Here's a Tip: When You Rob a Bank, Always Check for the Tracking Device

You know who was good at robbing banks? Bill Murray in Quick Change.

From the There is No Smart Way to Rob a Bank Department: Four Hurricane Katrina evacuees, all with extensive criminal records, appeared before a federal judge yesterday for their alleged part in a Saturday bank heist in Dallas.

According to the affidavit, three of the men, wearing hardhats and sunglasses, entered the Chase Bank on the 2300 block of Gus Thomasson Road, near Ferguson Road, at about 9 a.m. Saturday with guns drawn. They ordered bank employees and customers to the floor. One of the suspects then stood near the entrance, another manned the lobby, and a third jumped over the teller counter. He then grabbed a plastic trash bag and began filling it with money from the teller drawers, including cash embedded with a tracking device. The suspects fled the bank in a silver Dodge vehicle with no license plate.

It didn't take long for law enforcement to catch up.

A signal from the tracking device led police to the Diamond Creek Apartments on South Buckner Boulevard, where cops saw the silver Dodge sport utility vehicle car in the parking lot. The officers then followed the tracking signal to a particular apartment. In a back bedroom closet, they noticed fresh texture from the ceiling that had fallen on the floor. So officers searched the attic and found Ken Joseph Harrison, 40, with a white pillow case stuffed with clothing and cash. With him were Marvin Wayne Birtha, 44 and Gregory Denson, 43. A fourth suspect, Isaac Sabatier, 22, was found and arrested on the rooftop.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Birtha admitted his role in the robbery. The four men had met up early that morning, Birtha said, and had driven in a car belonging to Denson to a house where they retrieved the handguns used in the robbery. They then drove to the Chase Bank, and everyone but Denson, who stayed in the car, went inside. Once they had robbed the bank, they drove to Birtha's girlfriend's apartment on South Buckner, where officers later found the guns and the clothing used in the robbery. The four are now looking at a maximum sentence of 25 years and a fine of $250,000.

Chalk another one up for the FBI and the DPD. --Jesse Hyde

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky