Citizen tip, DNA analysis led to breaks in 2003 Xerox robbery/shooting case
Webster/Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Investigators in a 13-year-old robbery and double shooting case revealed how an arrest was made.
On Monday afternoon, Richard Leon Wilbern was charged in a criminal complaint with the robbery, murder and shooting at a Xerox Federal Credit Union in Webster on August 12, 2003.
The Robbery and Shootings
On August 12, 2003, authorities say Wilbern walked into the XFCU building at 9:45 a.m. wearing a dark blue nylon jacket with "FBI" in yellow letters, as well as gloves, sunglasses, a U.S. Marshals badge and a wig. He also carried a large briefcase and an umbrella.
Wilbern then allegedly told an employee he was conducting a security assessment and was going to stage a robbery, then pulled a handgun and sawed-off shotgun from his briefcase and demanded money.
During the robbery, Raymond Batzel, a 23-year employee of Xerox, attempted to confront Wilbern and was fatally shot in the neck. Another man, Joseph Doud, then walked in, saw the suspect shoot Batzel, and tried to run away. Wilbern then allegedly shot Doud in the back and fled the bank with more than $10,000 in cash. Doud survived the shooting.
FBI News Conference - March 2016
After nearly 13 years of investigating, law enforcement officers held a news conference in Rochester in March, releasing new details about the robbery and murder, as well as new photos. The FBI released enhanced security pictures of the suspect and increased the reward for the arrest of the suspect to $60,000.
A few days after the news conference, a citizen called the FBI with a tip, suggesting Wilbern may be the suspect in the shooting. According to the caller, Wilbern had worked for Xerox before the robbery but had been fired in February 2001 for "repeated employment related infractions."
In August 2000, Wilbern filed a federal lawsuit against Xerox because he felt that he was treated unfairly and was discriminated against based on his race. The lawsuit was dismissed in December 2002.
Wilbern Contacts The FBI
Between July 2015 and April 2016, Wilbern made five calls to the FBI Public Access Hotline over what he described as a possible real estate scam and the impending foreclosure of his house on Hudson Avenue in Rochester.
One of the calls was made on April 14, 2016 - just a few weeks after the FBI news conference asking for more information about the suspect in the Xerox robbery and murder case.
"He actually found us. He contacted the FBI on his own following his own concerns about being the victim of a fraud," said Adam Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office.
FBI agents called Wilbern via the cell phone number he provided and asked him to come in and discuss the real estate scam. He came in twice - July 7 and July 19 - and was asked to sign paperwork and seal the envelope. Wilbern sealed the envelope by licking an envelope. When he left, investigators immediately placed the envelope containing Wilbern's DNA into a secured evidence bag for testing and comparison to DNA found at the robbery site.
"Years ago we collected DNA from two separate areas of the umbrella the credit union shooter had left behind in his rush to leave that complex," said Cohen.
A match was made by the Medical Examiner's Office in New York City between the DNA samples; the match of this specific DNA profile could only be found in 1 in 6.8 trillion people.
Monday, Wilbern returned to FBI offices to discuss his real estate issues. Instead, agents zeroed in on the Xerox robbery.
"He came to this building voluntarily believing he was coming here to provide us with additional information about his own concerns. As the talk turned to Xerox obviously his demeanor changed and he invoked his right at that point to speak with an attorney," said Cohen.
The Press Conference
A statement issued by Teresa Freeborn, President and Chief Executive from Xceed Financial Credit Union, can be found below:
We at Xceed Financial Credit Union are grateful for the FBI and Crime Stoppers and their efforts to bring closure to this tragic event in our organization’s history. We applaud the dedication and coordinated efforts of law enforcement, Crime Stoppers and the community for serving justice to the families affected by the events of August 12, 2003.
Sharon Batzel, Raymond's widow, released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
"We are relieved that someone came forward.It has been a long 13 years. We appreciate all that has been done by Police and FBI. The support from community has been appreciated."
13WHAM News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
The full criminal complaint charging Wilbern can be read below: