Bank Robber Suspect Busted in 'Incredible Coincidence'

An envelope gave the FBI the DNA sample it needed—13 years after the fact
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2016 2:57 AM CDT
FBI: Lick of an Envelope Helped Catch Bank Robber
Richard Leon Wilbern.   (Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

A man charged in a fatal bank robbery 13 years ago was captured with the help of a tipster and DNA secretly collected from an envelope when he coincidentally filed a fraud complaint. Authorities say Richard Leon Wilbern was arrested Tuesday when he went to meet with FBI agents in Rochester for what he thought was a meeting about his complaint. Wilbern had been on the FBI's radar since March, when a former co-worker named him as a suspect in the August 2003 robbery of a credit union on the Xerox Corp.'s campus in Webster, NY, where he once worked, the AP reports.

A bank customer was fatally shot in the neck and another customer was wounded when a man wearing an FBI jacket opened fire after telling an employee he was there for a security assessment. The robber escaped with more than $10,000. In what the FBI called "an incredible coincidence," investigators were looking into the tip when Wilbern called the FBI to report a suspected real estate scam. When agents met with Wilbern, who served time for a 1980 bank robbery, they had him sign paperwork and lick an envelope, from which they obtained a DNA sample. They matched that sample to one taken from an umbrella left behind at the bank robbery 13 years earlier. (More bank robbery stories.)

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