Application of Fourth Amendment to Use of Electronic Beeper in Tracking Bank Robbery Bait Money


The warrantless monitoring by law enforcement personnel of electronic beepers hidden in bait money robbed from a bank probably does not constitute a “search” implicating the Fourth Amendment, even after the beeper being monitored has been taken into a home.

One who has come into possession of beeper-monitored bank bait money by robbing a bank has no legitimate expectation of privacy in such money that would be violated by the beeper monitoring.

Although this form of beeper monitoring probably does not constitute a search implicating the Fourth Amendment, it was recommended that the FBI should continue its practice of seeking a warrant when that form of monitoring is undertaken. However, because exigent circumstances justify the FBI’s practice of commencing beeper monitoring immediately when a baited bank is robbed, the FBI is not constitutionally required to refrain from monitoring the beeper until it has obtained a warrant.

Updated July 9, 2014