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

Headnotes: 

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