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Gay chat room leads to bank robber's arrest

Gay chat room leads to bank robber's arrest

A broken TV remote control in a hotel room and an updated profile on a gay Web site led police to the man they believe robbed the Mountain West Bank in Missoula, Mont., and a Salt Lake City bank on May 6, court records say. Jay Vaughan Gregory Jr., 48, appeared Thursday afternoon before U.S. magistrate Leif Erickson in Montana on charges that he robbed Mountain West Bank of $2,430 on May 10. Police officers arrested Gregory, of Manville, N.J., at a hotel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, about 3 a.m. Thursday on a warrant for the robbery of a Wells Fargo bank in Salt Lake City. Gregory admitted robbing the banks, prosecutors said in an affidavit. Erickson ordered him held without bail pending further court proceedings. Officers were led to the hotel after it was determined that the fake bomb used to rob the Missoula bank included a circuit board taken from a remote control. A search of nearby hotels found one with a damaged TV remote seven blocks from the bank. Police and FBI interviewed motel staff and learned that one of the employees had repeatedly kicked Gregory off the computer for viewing gay pornography Web sites. The same employee said Gregory had several guests while he was at the hotel. One of those guests told police he had met "Jeremiah" through a gay Web site, where Gregory had posted a profile giving his location in Missoula. On Wednesday detectives checked the site and found that Gregory had updated his profile to give his location as Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash. Washington and Idaho law enforcement agencies were notified to be on the lookout for a black Ford Contour with New Jersey plates that had been seen near both banks during the robberies. A Kootenai County sheriff's deputy was patrolling Coeur d'Alene with the license plate number written on his hand when he saw the car parked at a hotel. Court records also included the text of the note used to hold up Mountain West Bank on Tuesday: "There are enough explosives in this package to level this building. Cooperative (sic) and we all see tomorrow. Otherwise we all see God. No alarms, no tricks, no nonsense or I detonate the bomb. Count out the money like a regular withdrawal. Quickly and no tricks or you will never see your family again." (AP)

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