November 5, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana, Hammond Division. No.
2:16-cr-00084-JVB-JEM-l - Joseph S. Van Bokkelen, Judge.
Bauer, Rovner, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.
EVE, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Brewer and his girlfriend, Robin Pawlak, traveled the country
robbing banks, a la Bonie and Clyde. Agents today, however,
have investigative tools that their Great Depression
predecessors lacked. With a warrant for real-time,
Global-Positioning-System (GPS) vehicle monitoring, a task
force tracked Brewer's car to California where he and
Pawlak committed another robbery. Brewer was arrested and
essentially confessed to the crime spree. The government
charged him with three counts of bank robbery, 18 U.S.C.
§ 2113(a), and a jury convicted him on each count.
appeals. He argues that the government violated the Fourth
Amendment by tracking him to California when the warrant only
permitted monitoring in Indiana. But the in-state limitation
did not reflect a probable-cause finding or a particularity
requirement, and the Fourth Amendment is unconcerned with
state borders. Brewer also argues that the district court
abused its discretion in admitting evidence of unindicted
robberies. Yet that other-act evidence was directly probative
of Brewer's identity, modus operandi, and intent, and it
therefore fell within the bounds of Federal Rule of Evidence
404(b)(2). We affirm.
bank robberies, committed in three states over the course of
about six weeks, led to Artez Brewer's arrest and
first robbery happened on April 28, 2016. The day before, a
young man entered Centier Bank in Griffith, Indiana, and made
an odd request: he asked for change in two-dollar bills. The
next day, a woman walked into the bank wearing a jogging
suit, gloves, and a mask while carrying a yard-long wooden
stick, a black bag, and a note. She put the stick in between
the bank's entrance doors, approached the teller counter,
and held up the note, which read, "All money in drawer,
no bait." She received $162, exited the bank, and ran
into the alley. Security footage showed a dark Chevrolet
Impala fleeing the scene.
after the first robbery, on April 29, 2016, a young man
walked into State Bank & Trust in Perrysburg, Ohio. He
lingered, waited in line for a couple of minutes, pulled out
his cell phone, and left without being assisted. The man was
then seen loitering across the street from the bank. After
relieving himself on a nearby garbage bin, the man got back
into his car-a black sedan-where he sat facing the bank. A
bit later, a woman entered the bank dressed head to toe in
dark clothing, carrying a stick, a black bag, and a note. The
woman dropped the stick at the bank's entrance doors,
approached the teller counter, and handed up a note demanding
cash. She left with over $1, 000.
morning of May 6, 2016, a young man entered the MainSource
Bank in Crown Point, Indiana. He approached the teller and
made a request she thought odd: change in two-dollar bills.
That afternoon, a beige Toyota sedan pulled up near the bank.
A woman got out, wearing all black and carrying a long stick,
a purple and black bag, and a note. She put the stick at the
front doors, reached the teller desk, and held up a note
demanding money. She received all the money in the
teller's top drawer, about $1, 700. She fled, got back
into the Toyota, and took off.
three weeks later, in the late afternoon of May 26, 2016, a
young man walked into Horizon Bank in Whiting, Indiana. He
approached the teller desk and requested change in one-dollar
gold coins, which the teller found unusual. The next morning,
on May 27, a Toyota Corolla pulled up to an auto-shop lot
next to the bank. A woman dressed in dark clothing entered
the bank, carrying a bag and a note. Without saying a word,
she approached the teller desk and held up the note demanding
money. She made off with a lit- tie more than $6, 000 before
jumping into the Toyota. The robber left behind a stick
wedged between the doors.
(and other) heists drew the attention of an FBI task force,
which pinned Brewer as the young man present at the banks
just before the robberies. It conducted surveillance and
gathered that Brewer lived with a woman, Robin Paw-lak, in
Gary, Indiana. Officers observed a Toyota matching the one
from the robberies parked outside their residence, and they
later discovered that Brewer sometimes drove another car -a
silver Volvo. A task-force officer sought a warrant from a
state-court magistrate to monitor the Volvo with GPS
tracking. The officer's supporting affidavit referenced
eleven bank robberies, in Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. The
magistrate issued the warrant, which permitted the use of a
"tracking device ... in any public or private area in
any jurisdiction, within the State of Indiana, for a
period of 45 days." The in-state limitation was,
apparently, an anomaly. The task force had obtained multiple
GPS vehicle-monitoring warrants during the investigation from
the same magistrate, none of which included the limitation.
task force quickly installed the GPS tracker, consistent with
the warrant's terms. A few days later, on June 7, 2016, a
task-force officer noticed that the Volvo was on the move
heading west. He monitored the car as it left Indiana and
traveled through Illinois and continued westward until it
arrived in Los Angeles, California. The officer was unaware
that the warrant limited the monitoring to Indiana, and ...