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The Not-So-Smart Robber And The Smart Car Get Away

OPB | Aug. 22, 2014 11:56 a.m. | Updated: Aug. 22, 2014 1:13 p.m. | Portland

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While the car was smart, the criminal was not: Marie A. Berry was arrested in Vancouver, Washington this week for allegedly robbing several local businesses, including a few banks, a tanning salon, a gas station, a department store, a convenience store and a Pizza Hut.

KOIN reports that the suspect would enter the businesses and present a note to the teller or cashier, demanding money without a fuss. When robbing the pizzeria, she first called in an order under the name “Theresa” before showing up with a demand note and making out with $100 — crime can really build an appetite.

But the suspect got too comfortable when, following her final robbery at Columbia Bank on June 26, she left her demand note in her get-away Smart Car, a stolen Car2Go.

There are a number of problems with using rideshare service Car2Go as a getaway vehicle, and if you use one regularly, you know the issues right away.

1) Vancouver is not a Car2Go hub, meaning that the suspect had to get a car from Portland, drive across the Columbia River and do a stop over. (This means the car isn’t running, but the person is still being charged for time.) At 41 cents a minute (or $15 per hour), you have no time to dilly-dally when using an unsuspecting person’s account.

2) When renting a Car2Go, you have to sign in — you swipe a card to unlock the car, wait for it to open, type in a PIN, answer questions about the appearance of the interior and the exterior of the car. That in itself takes a couple minutes, and in my opinion makes it a terrible getaway car choice.

3) Since the car is connected to an account, a suspect would easily be narrowed down based on who the Car2Go was stolen from. And it doesn’t help that she left the note in the car.

4) Even if the suspect tries to deny that she was around the bank, Car2Go is connected to GPS tracking. The company can go back and see where the car was located at any point in time.

5) You’ve seen Car2Go, whether you have an account or not. The cars aren’t flashy, but any witness would be able to identify the get-away vehicle as a blue and white Smart Car. And in a non-Car2Go hot spot, it stands out.

Berry has been booked at the Clark County Jail. She was arraigned on Aug. 21 and is being charged with seven counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree theft and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

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