FBI: Facebook pix, GPS lead investigators to serial bank robber

Sean Randolph (inset) and surveillance images of the bank robber. | CPD; FBI

A Chicago man is facing bank robbery charges after investigators identified him by—among other things—the clothes he wore in Facebook pix. But he’s blaming his cousin for turning him in to collect a $1,000 reward.

Sean Randolph, 26, is charged in federal court with robbing three Chase banks across Chicago since May 17th. The FBI said he is suspected of committing one additional robbery and attempting two others.

An agent for the bureau said in an affidavit that Randolph was identified by using images from a CPD pod camera, car rental records, GPS, and several Facebook photographs and videos.

Randolph got away with $25,000 in the two-month spree, according to the FBI.

The hold-ups did not always go smoothly for Randolph or his alleged victims. According to the FBI agent’s affidavit:

• Randolph gave a note demanding $10,000 and stating that he had a gun to a teller at Chase, 1934 South State, on May 17th. The teller gave him $1,000 and Randolph demanded that she keep talking to him. The woman said, “how are you today?” Randolph replied, “How are you today? Don’t look at me,” and then ran to a black sedan that was parked nearby.

On May 28th, Randolph gave a note reading, “This is a robbery. I have a gun, I want $10,000” to a teller at the 1055 West Bryn Mawr branch. Randolph asked how the teller was doing, collected $9,000, and left the bank. Video showed a black sedan leaving the area.

• He handed a note demanding $10,000 to a teller at the 935 West Armitage branch on June 22nd and asked the employee how his day was going. Randolph said he was getting ready to go on vacation to Florida. The conversation was so odd, the teller lost track of the money he was counting out for Randolph and offered to run it through an electronic counting device to verify the amount. Randolph declined the offer, took $10,000 in two envelopes, and left.

On July 11th, he entered the Chase bank at 3714 North Broadway with a note saying he needed $10,000 in an envelope. The teller walked away from the window with the note, causing Randolph to shout, “I need that, ma’am” and then run out of the bank empty-handed. Police surveillance video showed him getting into a black sedan with the name of a car rental company written across the top of the rear windshield.

The next day, he walked into a branch in the 5200 block of West Dempster while wearing sunglasses and a hood. A teller told him to removed the sunglasses and hood, but Randolph said he was having a bad hair day and told the teller to read the robbery note he had just handed over. The teller continued to insist that Randolph remove his sunglasses, so Randolph grabbed the note back and left the bank with no money.

Later that day, Randolph robbed the Chase branch at 1101 West Lawrence of $5,000 and ran toward a black four-door sedan.

Investigators contacted the rental company identified on the window of the black sedan used in the Broadway robbery. The manager, who rents cars to delivery and ride-hail drivers, provided GPS data for a vehicle that the FBI suspected may have been used in the robberies.

A stack of money seen on Facebook Live | FBI

The data showed it traveled from an address in the South Shore neighborhood to the vicinity of the hold-ups on May 17th and May 28th, according to a court filing.

Using a phone number from the car rental agreement and an address, police located the Facebook account of Randolph’s girlfriend. There, they found a Father’s Day photo montage that included photographs of him wearing a lightning bolt-emblazoned hoodie. It appears identical to one worn by the bank robber, according to the FBI.

On Randolph’s personal Facebook page, where he goes by the name “Sean Gucci,” the FBI allegedly found a video of him displaying a stack of cash. Another video allegedly showed him in the driver’s seat of a car that had the car rental company’s name visible on the back windshield.

Finally, the FBI says, police were able to match Randolph’s fingerprints from a 2018 arrest to prints left on the demand note that the teller walked away with on July 11th.

Randolph is free on bond.

“30 Pieces Of Silver Was The Price For Which Judas Betrayed Jesus” Randolph wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. “My Cousin Kareem Williams Turned Me In To The Federal Government For $1,000. I Still Love You Cousin. U Broke My Heart With That One Tho.”

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com