Protip: After Successfully Stealing A Car And Robbing A Bank… Don't Brag About It On YouTube

from the just-saying... dept

No one ever said that criminals were particularly smart. Over the years, we’ve pointed to a number of incredibly stupid criminals who post evidence or confessions of their crimes in YouTube videos. What’s amazed us, though, are politicians who argue that there should be additional criminal penalties for those who broadcast their crimes via YouTube, even as it presents evidence that makes it easier to convict them. In fact, we had a story of a City Council explicitly ordering a serial criminal to stop posting evidence of his crimes to YouTube.

Thankfully, such calls for adding penalties for dumb criminals publicly exposing evidence about their crimes seems to have died down. So, now we can see videos like the following in which Hannah Sabata, a 19-year-old from Nebraska, confesses to robbing a bank and a car and brags about it (and let’s not even get into whether or not the Green Day tune with the video is infringing… though it looks like that’s been “claimed” and “monetized” by ContentID):

The video was posted last week… and apparently a lot of people called the local sheriff. Apparently Ms. Sabata also texted her ex-husband (an ex-husband at 19?) bragging about the crime as well, and he alerted the police also. Adding to the evidence: the outfit she wears in the video… is the same outfit she wore during the bank robbery.

“I’ve been sheriff for 19 years, and in law enforcement for 42 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Sheriff Radcliff said.

Yup. And it seems like a good thing that we have stupid criminals incriminating themselves so publicly, rather than making that an additional crime.

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Comments on “Protip: After Successfully Stealing A Car And Robbing A Bank… Don't Brag About It On YouTube”

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anon says:


As she said in the video it was becasue the governement took her kid, lets not overlook the reason the person commited the crime, this is somethign that seems to be rather common on the internet, just call someone out on what they do withought any insight inot that persons motives.

And before the cries of you support her etc , no i dont not one little bit, she deserves everythign the judge throws at her but hopefully psychological investigations prove beyond a doubt that this was not as a result of a chemical imbalance due to giving birth then her kid taken from her, we always say animals act better than humans, well in this case she did not kill anyone , whereas try to take a bears baby away from it and it will rip you to pieces, try to take almost any animals kids away from them and they will do everything in there power to kill you, so maybe with a little understanding this girl can get help to cope with what has happened and get the treatment she needs not just locked away for a few years and forgotten about, until she comes out and does end up killing someone when she again robs a Bank.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:


I agree that motivations for crime need to be looked at more closely. I’m certain that more crime can be stopped by fixing the reasons for the crime than by making punishments harsher. So many politicians want to be seen as doing something and choose the obvious path of making punishments harsher or increasing enforcement. So few (if any) actually want to change what might be causing* some to turn to crime.

*Right, I get it. It’s a choice people make. But why are they making that decision. Sure some people are just bad apples, but some do it because they feel they have no other choice, even thought they do. Would free mental care reduce crime? Would therapy help? Would more jobs help? Would better welfare? Would reducing cops help? Would reducing the number of laws help? Would weakening federal government and diluting power to be more local help? I don’t know. But this is an area I’d like to see explored more rather than simply increasing penalties.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: SAD

You’ve just taken me back to Psych 101. The problem in cases of desparatuion is that the human being will do anything at all to get what they want. Criminal psychology isn’t my field…but I want to get into it now as there is more research to do.

The problem with crime vs. punishment is finding the ends that justify the means…humans are notorious at having trouble gauging that which is why we have cases such as these. We have ways to reinforce things, but it sometimes doesn’t work out to teach a lesson. Though, admittedly, the risk of bruising one’s own ego and id simultaneously in this way is a great example of negative reinforcement πŸ˜‰

The one thing I can cite is the abysmal success of a program we covered in my psych 101 class which teaches you about reinforcement.

There are many jokes, and cultural recerences therein, about the Scared Straight program to scare at risk teenagers by showing them what it’s like in prison on the personal level. It was found that it did nothing to quell most patients’ desires to do more criminal acts…

I agree that sometimes we need tougher penalties. Fast-forward to this problem where we think we need more punishment rather than treatment of a problem. Yes she needs to do her time, but can she competently prove to the court system to be a bit lenient on her through her justifications? My guess is no. The only reason I see it is the way the court see’s it…if you’re allowed to get a more lenient verdict without proof or psychological evaluation based on your justifications outside of any delusional behaviors, other people committing federal offenses (grand larceny of a bank ought to do it) will ask for it too.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: SAD

Thanks Atkray.
Honestly, she is a criminal because of what she’s done. Desparation or not, we all have to do our time when we knowingly commit a crime. There are far more desperate cases in crimes committed compared to what she did. She won’t get off, she might get a lenient verdict. The bottom line she’s got to do her time for robbing a bank.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Because we all know that no professional criminal, much less professional anything in general, has NEVER made a mistake EVER in the history of time that has caused them to be convicted of a crime, miss a catch/pass, etc. /s

But just as long as she’s wearing the same clothes we can rest assured that at least to Wally she is quite obviously no professional. Whew. That’s a load off my mind, glad it’s been settled then.

Rikuo (profile) says:

“are politicians who argue that there should be additional criminal penalties for those who broadcast their crimes via YouTube, even as it presents evidence that makes it easier to convict them.”

I remember seeing the following on the front page of the newspaper yesterday, but didn’t buy the paper

Long story short, after a few cyber bullying cases, schools in Ireland are being told to ban taking photos, unless its an official school project. Which in my humble opinion, is horrendous.
Now while this isn’t at the level of being a crime (yet), it’s still a horrible thing to ban.

out_of_the_blue says:

When I said get stuff off Drudge, I didn't mean the stupid stuff.

Geez, you’re down to “stupid criminals” and wallowing in it.

The measure of greatness on teh internets: What to ordinary people is a mere quip… An off-the-cuff remark… That they’d never think to mention again…
Let alone link to at every least excuse… Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick sees as his claim to fame!

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

I can see the headlines now:
“Techdirt’s Mike Masnik charged with obstruction of justice by Florida District Attorney for hindering law enforcement by recommending criminals not post their crimes on the internet.”


You’ve been (comically) warned, Mike.

Hmm… not sure if you’ll look good in bright orange, but I’d pay to see the mugshot.

Another CwF opportunity!

Wally (profile) says:

Re: No, not stupid.

Lisa, desperation will make a person do anything. She needs treatment and counseling as well as a bit of jail time in my professional opinion, but outside of that, it’s a simple case of a not so smart move by someone who was (and no I’m not brining age bias into this) not mature enough to act appropriately alone on the matter.

Violated (profile) says:


Well what can I say to that one but an online confession to drugs, car theft and the one that will send her away for very many years… armed bank robbery.

When she waved that $61xx on camera was a classic moment. Hey I robbed a bank and here is the stolen cash! I am sure this video will appear in Police shows for years to come.

She will be sorry to find out that her “the government made me do it” excuse won’t win much appeal with the Judge when it was a purely selfish motive.

It is of course not nice to hear they took away her baby but it is easy to fill in the blanks here. She is a drug user with an obvious history and they charged her with that crime for drug use while she was pregnant. They took the baby into care because she is still a drug user and it is obvious her life contains much more bad stuff. So it was done in the best interests of the child and instead of cleaning up her act to appeal for reconsideration even now she proves to all she could not be a responsible mother.

Indeed now she will only make someone a nice blonde prison bitch with having strange things stuck in her various holes.

It was the best day of her life she said and she smiled so broadly as she held up that stolen money. Unfortunately for her life always has rules and it will be her worst day as she is sentenced for her crimes.

I would normally say if one needs to break the law to never tell anyone but in this case she clearly wanted to confess her various crimes to the world.

G Thompson (profile) says:


Her alleged motive, which by all accounts is a standard minimisation for her own conscience to deal with what she knows is wrong, is irrelevant in the charging of the crime and subsequent finding of guilt.

In fact she has by all accounts pleaded guilty by admission in this instance (Most crimes no matter what the media and TV shows try to say are actually solved by the stupidity or the egotistic nature – opening their big mouths – of criminals)

Though her motive can be used on her behalf in sentencing, and most likely will be used by any competent defence lawyer to try to mitigate any incarceration. There should be a motion for a psych evaluations by the defence, though even if any evaluation shows that she might have self-evident problems that doesn’t means she wont be fully sentenced for her crimes.

People, rightly or wrongly, have children removed from their care every day but that doesn’t give them the right to commit criminal offences that they know are wrongful and illegal.

G Thompson (profile) says:

I would normally say if one needs to break the law to never tell anyone but in this case she clearly wanted to confess her various crimes to the world.

The perfect crime is one where no-one ever knows a crime actually happened!

Thankfully most criminals come undone because they can’t not tell anyone. Stroking Ego’s is a powerful weapon in any investigators arsenal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Does not mean she actually did the crimes

she might of said she did them, but I am sure she was not read her Miranda Rights read to her before making that clip, and it is not true that in the US you do not have to make self incriminating statements in court (the 5th), nor do you have to give evidence against your spouse.

Very good possibility that the court would be barred from seeing that vid, and that ‘evidence’ would not be allowed to be submitted in a court.

I don’t know (or care) is she did it or not, but making a video saying you did certainly is not proof that she did any crime at all it’s called circumstantial evidence and a decent judge and defence lawyer would not allow that clip to be submitted or vied by the jury.

She just goes to court, and UNDER OATH says that “I LIED” in that video clip, “now, prove with real physical evidence that I did those things you claim I did”..

she was not under oath when she made that video, so there is no contempt, it was a joke…

now court, apart from the “confession” when is not allowed to be submitted to the court, prove beyond reasonable doubt with OTHER proof and evidence that this is the person who robbed the bank…

It would be a clear miscarriage of justice if this video was allowed to be submitted as evidence in a criminal case.

If that was possible, if you made a vid that you got really drunk last Friday night and drove home, that would be sufficient grounds for charging you with DUI !!!..

The prosecutor and police would be VERY stupid if they decided to base their conviction of this person on the basis of this one video..

If they do not do their job, that is finding real proof that this person did what she said she did, (not under oath), then guilty or not, she will (and should) not be charged..

IF just talking about a crime is enough for you to be charged, then how many filesharers here would or could be charged because on Techdirt, the admitted that they have downloaded files that makes them in breach of the existing laws !!!

Masnick would go away for years, for ‘promoting crimes and theft’…..

Anonymous Coward says:


in Australia it is simply illegal to take photo’s of kids in schools, or schools in general, without specific permission and after being instructed in what you can and cannot photograph. You also have to pass a security check to make sure you have no prior convictions involving children.

I think it is fair enough to want to know why that creepy guy is lurking around schools with a camera !!

G Thompson (profile) says:

IF just talking about a crime is enough for you to be charged, then how many filesharers here would or could be charged because on Techdirt, the admitted that they have downloaded files that makes them in breach of the existing laws !!!

None…. why? because Filesharing is NOT a criminal (ie: illegal) offence.

As for the rest of your comment, true though this does not mitigate the fact that the LEO’s now have absolute probable cause to obtain a warrant, charge her, use her ex as a witness, show her SMS’s to her ex (after the easy warrants obtained) and if they don’t want to interview her… (which is probably the case here) her Miranda rights need not be read to her.

Yes a defence attorney/solicitor might be able to stop the viewing of the video in court.. Though that video could be used (and mostly is) as an admission for obtaining other more relevant and admissible evidence.

If it quacks like a duck, acts like a duck and all the evidence points to it having webbed feet, floating in water, having feathers, and belongs to the Anatidae species … normally its a freakin duck.

well unless she’s a witch

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think if she actually did rob a bank and steal a car, then be brash enough to admit to those crime on youtube, then you probably would not be silly enough to keep physical evidence laying around, or the car parked on your drive.

I’m sure she would have the confidence to withstand a search, with knowledge that they will not find anything to ‘pin her’ to the crime.

If the prosecution is silly enough to take this to court only on the basis of this vid, I do not think they would manage a conviction.

as you know, “on the internet everyone tells the truth!”….

Arturo Uzdavinis says:

It is amazing that in this day and age people still don’t realize that social media reaches EVERYONE. Its funny how many criminals are basically convicting themselves using facebook, twitter, youtube, etc..The most amazing part is that she was smart enough to get away with robbing the bank long enough to make the video.
Arturo Uzdavinis
Tulane University

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