'Spy vs. Spy': How the FBI Outwitted Armored-Car Robber

Authorities figure out Redrick Batiste's strategy on stolen cars, use it against him
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2018 11:23 AM CDT
File photo of an armored car.   (Getty/qingwa)

(Newser) Texas Monthly is out with a fascinating account of how the FBI stopped the mastermind of a series of violent armored-car robberies in Houston beginning in 2015. In some of those heists, guards were essentially executed without a chance to surrender. The big break came when an informant, apparently nursing a grudge, told the feds that the ring's leader was a polite, dapper dresser named Redrick "Red" Batiste. The FBI didn't have enough evidence to make an arrest, however, so agents began following the 36-year-old and bugging his calls. Finally, they spotted something strange: Batiste arranged to have someone drive a rented Jeep Cherokee to his home, and in a subsequent phone call, Batiste told a colleague he was "having trouble trying to copy this mother------." Hours later, he returned the vehicle to the rental agency.

Perplexed FBI agents soon learned why: They discovered that Batiste had installed a GPS tracker in the vehicle and deduced that he had copied a key fob—all so he could find the vehicle and steal it at a moment's notice for the next heist. The FBI installed a GPS tracker of its own, plus an engine kill switch and camera, then waited. "It was like the Spy vs. Spy comic strip in Mad magazine," one attorney in the investigation tells writer Skip Hollandsworth. "Batiste comes up with a pretty smart plan to trick up a car so he can steal it. And the FBI slips in and tricks up the same car so they can catch him." A few days later, after watching Batiste stake out his next robbery, agents moved in just as the heist was about to go down. After the kill switch stopped Batiste's escape, he came out of the vehicle firing and was shot to death. Click for the full story. (Read more Longform stories.)

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