Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Google-Savvy Bank Robbers Learn 'What Happens If You Rob a Bank'

Weymouth police in the Boston area are probably counting their lucky evidentiary stars after a bank robber hatched a brilliant plan to Google various robbery-related questions before pulling a bank heist with two others.

The robber apparently didn't think to clear her search history. (Doh!)

Alas, sometimes it's the planning and not the cover-up that's worse than the crime.

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

While reviewing surveillance video footage of a bank robbery, Weymouth police recognized Sarah McLoud, a suspect in the ongoing investigation of a heroin ring based just around the corner from the targeted bank, reports The Boston Globe.

Maybe McLoud strongly believes in promoting local business?

Officers then secured a search warrant for McLoud's room at the heroin headquarters and found the clothing she wore during the robbery, the stolen cash, and "a significant quantity of heroin packaged for sale," according to police.

But that was far less amusing than the smoking gun they discovered in digital form.

"What Happens If You Rob a Bank"

When investigators went through McLoud's Internet history, they discovered recent searches such as: "what happens if you rob a bank," "what happens if you rob a house," "what happens if you rob a drug dealer," and "if you're going to rob a bank," police said.

If you're Sarah McLoud, here's the answer: you (and your primary accomplice) will be charged with unarmed robbery, conspiracy to commit unarmed robbery, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and possession with intent to distribute Xanax.

Lest we forget the "full-proof suffocation methods" evidentiary blip in the Casey Anthony case, Google search histories can be incredibly probative to establishing a defendant's motive and intent to commit a crime.

Generally, such hearsay -- that is, a statement made out of court that's offered to prove that the statement is true -- is inadmissible evidence.

Although there are several exceptions to the hearsay rule, the jury's still out on the admissibility of Internet search histories because it's often tough to prove who physically made the search.

Still, a growing number of courts are allowing it.

Either way, given the level of McLoud's e-ineptitude, we can probably safely assume this bandit will be game to post a prison Yelp review.

McLoud's newest query: "how to turn on private browsing."

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources: