Man takes Marine vet hostage while robbing bank on Facebook live to “stop war with Russia”

(Miami, FL) A Navy Federal Credit Union was the scene of a robbery on Monday afternoon as a suit wearing, polite-speaking man claimed he had a bomb while he instructed bank employees to fill his envelope with cash.

The entire event was captured by his Uber driver, who streamed the crime live via Facebook.

During the robbery, Mike Billy, a Uber driver and U.S. Marine veteran, asked his followers for help as he streamed the criminal’s every move. Through his stream, Billy messaged, “omg 911 I need help,” as his friends watched on in disbelief.

Early on in the first of three separate streams, the suspect waves to the Uber driver, then it appears he signals to the driver to stop streaming. When the stream resumes, the robber’s rant appears to offer motive for the crime.

“I’m going to surrender, alright, once I give this money away to people who are poor,” he told the bank employee. “I just want to speak before Congress.”

In what could possibly be the calmest bank robbery in history, the suspect continues his oration accusing the government of lies regarding Russia’s hacking during the election, and how the government is pushing America toward war.

Bank customers stand quietly and listen as the man lists his demands.

“I’ll surrender. I’ll answer to the media, I want to speak before Congress and I want people to listen to me, and I want to tell Congress they’re lying to us…they’re lying to us. They’re telling us that Russia hacked the election, and they’re trying to start a war. They’re going to kill us all.”

Events take a turn toward the bizarre when the stream resumes inside the Uber driver’s car.

The suspect rants in Spanish, then English, as he and the Uber driver drive around Miami. The suspect solicits for viewers to share their thoughts and asks if anybody shares his viewpoints, they should comment on the feed.

“Any news media that want to talk to me … call me, he continues, anybody that has a point of view like mine that wants peace on the planet. I don’t want to fight a war with Russia. Why are we leading toward another World War? Our government is not playing nice with other people.”

When the Uber driver asks the thief to show the bomb, he refuses and shows to stolen cash instead.

The two make their way to Miami’s Ocean drive where the alleged bomb-carrying robber showered the cash on random passersby and called in a bomb threat.

By about 5:30 p.m., the Uber driver pulled up near Ninth and Ocean Drive. That’s where the suspect began giving out cash to random people, some of whom sent photos to a local television station of them waving wads of cash and grinning.

Around the same time, the suspect apparently phoned in a bomb threat, which drew the FBI and Miami Beach Police to the scene. Both the thief and Uber driver were taken into custody, and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal robot was called to the scene; it’s not clear whether any explosives were in the car.

The suspect remains unidentified as of Tuesday morning, and it’s unclear whether Billy, the Uber driver, is a willing participant or an innocent victim.

Friends of Billy continue to comment on his Facebook page and are asking for viewers to spread the word that he is not a criminal.

“Facebook friends and Family. Share all of the videos posted by Mike,” said Facebook user Sandra Billy-Gilet. “They are looking at Mike as an accomplice instead of a victim right now. #Spreadtheword”

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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