‘Motor Scooter Bandit’ apprehended thanks to social media crime fighters

LEMAY, MO (KPLR) - He was being dubbed the Motor Scooter Bandit last week until crime fighters on a private community Facebook page helped St. Louis County police catch him.

Brock Schmittler and his friend, Karl Genthon, are in charge of the closed group page that goes by the name “Only in Lemay.”

On Monday, they said that all they were doing was looking out for their community.

"If you get involved it really can change things really quickly," said Schmittler.

And that's exactly what happened last week.

Police had been looking for 39-year-old Antonio Banks. They said Banks was riding around on a motor scooter carrying a gun and held up two different businesses in South County last Thursday morning.

As soon as police released surveillance images, Schmittler and Genthon said they blasted the information all over the group page.

"Anybody that wants to do any type of criminal element down here, people are calling them out now on the page," said Genthon.

Schmittler said Lemay, which is considered an unincorporated part of the county, is a small community where everyone practically knows one another. He said that once people on the page started recognizing the suspect, Schmittler picked up the phone and reported to police where the culprit might be.

"The guy is on a moped you know? I mean, come on, the high speed chase was, like, 29 miles an hour," Schmittler said.

Schmittler went on to say that while he and Genthon are not trying to do the job of law enforcement, they and the rest of the community who are part of the private page, take pride in assisting them with doing that job, even better.

"There's sort of a mentality put in place in society to where if you tell or you say something that you're snitching," Schmittler said. "But there's a difference between civic duty and snitching."

Police spokesman Ben Granda gave KPLR 11 a statement about how social media helped them catch Banks:

"Our department will eagerly accept all the help we can get to address crime and public safety, whether that be through local news, social media, or neighborhood.

“Sharing articles and posts online has an effect. It really does aid our detectives in identifying and apprehending criminals."