CHAPTER 17
  Robbery is a serious offense that may
be carried out by a wide range of means.
In robbery, an item of value is
deliberately taken from a victim or from
his presence. It is taken against the
victim’s will by force or violence or by
instilling fear. The victim’s fear can be of
immediate or future injury to himself, his
property, or the person or property of a              The types of robbery investigated most
family member or anyone in the victim’s             often by military investigators are muggings
company at the time of the robbery.                 and planned robberies of post facilities. The
                                                    principles and techniques used to investigate
  Normally, robberies are reported fairly           these robberies also apply to resident,
soon after they happen. And law                     vehicle, bank, and other robberies that are
enforcement response is quick. The                  encountered less often. The elements of proof
likelihood of locating the offender of a            for the offense of robbery remain the same,
robbery is directly related to the length of        regardless of the type of robbery being
time it takes to begin the investigation.           investigated.

                             ELEMENTS OF A ROBBERY
  There are three basic elements of robbery.        there is not enough evidence to show the
First, there must have been a larceny. All of       requisite force or engendered fear, a charge of
the elements of larceny must be present. (See       larceny may be shown. Or if evidence fails to
Chapter 14.) Second, the item truly must have       support a charge of larceny and the element
been taken from the alleged victim or from          of force is present, a charge of assault may be
his presence. And third, the item must have         shown.
been taken against the victim’s will by actual        More than one robbery may occur at one
or threatened force or violence. It is robbery if   time. If a group of people are threatened and
the threat of force is enough to cause the          property is taken from each person, it is more
victim to fear that the force will be used—and      than one offense. There are as many
so keeps him from resisting. Holding a victim       robberies committed as there are victims.
at gunpoint is sufficient threat to show            Each instance of taking is considered a
robbery. For example, someone enters a              separate offense. However, when several
house and points a gun at the owner. The            people are threatened and property is taken
owner, afraid of the gun, tells the hiding          from only one victim, there is only one
place of his valuables. Tying the owner up,         robbery along with several assaults.
the intruder goes into the next room where
the valuables are hidden. When he takes               Sometimes, an alleged victim may not have
them, he has committed robbery.                     been robbed. He or she may have reported
                                                    robbery to claim money from the
  The offense of robbery combines the               government. Also, a victim may not have
offenses of assault (discussed in Chapter 16)       been robbed of money. The victim may have
and larceny. Thus, if the elements of proof do      been robbed of drugs. In which case, the
not support a charge of robbery, they may           victim would be open to a charge of false
support a charge for either lessser offense. If     swearing or false complaint.

  To solve muggings it helps to remember            An inexperienced mugger’s actions may
that a mugger is often the least professional       be based only on a need for money and a
of all robbers; he uses strong-arm tactics.         sudden chance to victimize a lone person.

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 And because he is inexperienced, he is likely     (Wanted Poster). Consider giving local and
 to commit a careless error. Careful crime         resident federal agencies copies of the poster.
 scene processing and follow-up can help you       On occasion you may want to use the post
 reveal it.                                        newspaper and local newspapers and TV
                                                   stations as other means of publicizing the
   An experienced mugger plans his actions.        poster.
 He may enlist the aid of helpers. He selects
 his target and location for his attack. He        As you develop leads to the robbery, check
 chooses for a victim someone who has or is        known or suspected drug addicts. Addicts are
 believed to have a large sum of money. He         often so desperate for money to support their
 picks a location that is free of witnesses and    habit that they commit muggings. An addict
 that will give him the advantage of surprise.     may also be careless about how he exchanges
 But an experienced mugger also often sets a       the stolen item for cash. He may pawn it or
 pattern or uses the same method of operation.     sell it to someone else.
 His use of the same MO can lead you to him.
                                                      Check pawn shops periodically for items
   When you arrive at the scene of a mugging,      known to have been taken in robberies. If
 follow the basic steps in crime scene             automobiles have been involved, run a
 processing. Be concerned with an area larger      computer check of like-type vehicles. Have
 than the immediate scene. You may find            victims of robberies view the photographic
 evidence left by the robber while he waited for   identification file of the local USACIDC
 the victim or as he fled the scene. Contact       office. If possible, use local police department
 people in nearby facilities to find out if they   files as well.
 saw anyone in the area whose actions could
 be suspect.                                          In the absence of physical evidence, a
                                                   study of the mugger’s MO is of great value.
   Question the victim with care to get a          One MO that experienced muggers may use
 description of the robber. Ask about the          is the yoking technique. In this technique,
 robber’s voice, mannerisms, and clothing.         two or three muggers are involved. If there
 Muggers, however, are often hard to identify.     are three muggers, the largest of the group
 Many robberies, especially muggings, are          subdues the victim. He does this from behind,
 done after dark or under conditions making        using a stranglehold on the victim’s neck.
 the robber’s features hard to see. Even when      The second mugger usually holds the
 the robber directly confronts his victim, the     victim’s arms, while the third searches his
 victim’s emotional state is often such that he    pockets and removes the valuables. If only
 or she is not able to give a good description.    two muggers are involved, the smaller of the
                                                   two muggers searches the victim’s pockets
   Find out the type of approach the mugger        and controls the victim’s hands at the same
 used. Get a description of the items taken        time.
 from the victim and of their value. Ask what
 the victim’s actions were just before the            Because robbery is a recidivist crime, the
 robbery. Ask in which direction the robber        techniques and mannerisms of the suspects
 went when he left the scene. And ask if he left   are clues to their identities. Look for use of the
 on foot or by vehicle.                            same or like locations. Perhaps there is a
                                                   pattern of using parking lots or parade
   Interview the victim of a robbery more          grounds, or stairwells. See what weapons are
 than once. At a later interview the victim        used, if any. Check the method of approach or
 may remember details he or she could not          number of muggers. Learn what the mugger
 recall right after the crime becasue of stress.   says as his opening statement to the victim.
 Even if the victim recalls only a few details     If any conversation was held with the victim
 about th attacker, it will help.                  or among the accomplices, learn what was
   One of the best ways to identify a suspect is   said. Ask about peculiarities of accent or
 to piece together a composite description         pronunciation of certain words. Note the
 supplied by several different victims. If the     violence used against the victim.
 composite can be made in enough detail, you       Specifically, note how and where an injury
 can prepare and distribute CID Form 88            may have been inflicted.

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  The best way to solve a robbery of a post         negative actions may have influenced the
facility is to seal the area off quickly and        robber’s plans. Fewer employees may have
catch the subject before he or she can flee the     worked on the day of the crime because of
scene and dispose of the stolen property. It        lighter patronage. This factor may have
helps that post military police stations have       entered into the robber’s planning. Habitual
an alarm system that can be triggered at            movements by employees also could have
money handling facilities like banks,               been used to the robber’s advantage.
commissaries, or post exchanges. MP,
responding in a preplanned manner, can                 In the planning stage of a robbery it is
block avenues of escape.                            almost a must that robbers reconnoiter the
                                                   target. They may even rehearse their actions.
  Serious crimes on military bases often            An employee’s attention may have been
come under the jurisdiction of federal law          drawn to such actions. During the course of
enforcement agencies. In some cases, bank           interviewing all the employees, this may be
robberies, car thefts, and thefts of US             brought out.
property are investigated by the FBI. Federal
agencies outside the military that have sole           When you process the crime scene of a
or concurrent jurisdiction are called               robbery of a money handling facility, pay
immediately. Local authorities are contacted        careful attention to any methods of restraint
as a matter of routine police coordination.         the robbers used. Robbers sometimes restrain
                                                    their victims with rope, adhesive tape, or the
   Identifying and questioning witnesses is         like. A certain type of knot may offer a clue to
critical to solving robberies of this kind. Have    a robber’s identity. If adhesive tape is used
another investigator or an MP help get the          over the victim’s mouth, fingerprints may be
names of everyone in the facility. Check for        found on either side of the tape. You may be
witnesses outside the building. Someone may         able to trace the material to either the
have seen the suspects as they fled.                manufacturer or distributor. And also look
                                                   for the more usual clues. Items are sometimes
   As with muggings, you need certain              carelessly left at the scene of the robbery.
information. You want a list of events that        Clothing, shell casings, and notes handed to
happened just before the offense occurred.         a victim may offer clues like fingerprints or
This includes the movements of the victim          laundry marks. If the robber abandons a
and others. You need a detailed physical           vehicle, latent fingerprints and items of
description of the offender and any                clothing left in the vehicle may give clues.
accomplices. Get this while the information
is still fresh in people’s minds. Get a detailed      As with muggings, note facts pointing to a
description of the methods and actions used        certain modus operandi. Matching the MO of
by the offender and accomplices in the crime.      an unsolved robbery with cases from other
Obtain a description of weapons and vehicles       police agencies may lead to identifying and
used in the offense.                               apprehending prime suspects. Perhaps the
                                                   target was cased weeks in advance. Was
  Note what conversation occurred between          there a detailed timetable of operations? Note
the offender and his victim. If the robber had     the number of persons used to commit the
accomplices, note what they said to each           robbery. Pay attention to how their tasks
other. The wording of verbal threats or            were split. Sometimes one man directs the
demands uttered by the offender must be            operation, and others perform the actual
carefully documented. Written threats and          work of the robbery. Tasks may be handled
demands must be retained and examined.             by roles: "driver", "gun man," "look-out,"
                                                   "inside man." Check the techniques used
  Some of the witnesses are likely to be           during the actual robbery. Note how persons
customers rather than employees. They may          were positioned. Did they use verbal
not want to be interviewed. But all employees      commands, written or verbal demands,
must be interviewed. Both positive and             visual signals? Pay attention to the kind of

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 equipment that was used and the types of        prearranged plan for dividing the money?
 facial disguises that may have been used. Did   And be sure to check the method of escape
 the robbers’ conversation suggest a             and the route followed to achieve escape.

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