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FBI touts new app to catch bank robbers

Posted at 11:13 PM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 16:57:26-05

The FBI says robbers have ratcheted up the violence when it comes to bank hold-ups, so the law-enforcement agency has released a new app that allows users to help solve those crimes. 

The Federal Burean of Investigation reports that between July 2015 and June 2016, there were 42 bank robberies in Omaha. During that same stretch in 2017, that jumped to 63 robberies — an increase of 50 percent.  

Mike Kitsmiller, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI Omaha Division, told 3 News Now that robbers have escalated their level of violence to what is called the "takeover style." 

"They come in, guns out, announcing a robbery, putting people on the floor," he said.

Agent Kitsmiller showed us the new App. Witnesses can pretty much come forward from the palm of their hand. Load the App onto a phone from FBI.Gov.  From there, punch in the location of the crime, such as Nebraska or Omaha.  A list of recent bank robberies comes up.  Then, hit the description of a specific case.  In some instances, there is even a "wanted poster" attached.  The bottom of the screen explains how to leave an email tip or even call the FBI.  Agent Kitsmiller said, "We just want to generate more information coming in so we can put these guys in jail. "  

In addition, the FBI said it has teamed with local police and sheriff's departments to form a task force  adding manpower and using information exchange to try to better solve the crimes. 

The FBI Bank Robbers app is available for Apple and Android devices.