Central Coast Bandit strikes again

July 20, 2013

paso robberA woman wanted for five Central Coast bank robberies is suspected of holding-up a Modesto bank on Thursday.

A Latina woman donning a scarf entered the Farmers and Merchants Bank in McHenry Village on Thursday, mentioned that she had a weapon and demanded money. She then fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

Law enforcement describes the woman as 35 to 40 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, wearing glasses, and carrying a black purse.

The FBI has dubbed the woman the “Central Coast Bandit” and has credited her with robbing the Monterey Credit Union in Pacific Grove last New Year’s Eve, two Atascadero banks on Valentine’s Day, the Coast Hills Federal Credit Union in Nipomo last month, and the Paso Robles Golden 1 Credit Union Tuesday.


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These are remarkable clear photos. I am surprised that no one has come forward to identify her.

I worked for many years in retail and noticed something about thieves. Whether customers or employees, the ease of that first theft makes them overconfident. They either underestimate the intelligence of the security people or overestimate their own. Either way they keep on stealing and eventually get caught.

The reality is that heavy security comes at a heavy cost in both expenses and customer inconvenience. So security people have to tolerate some risk of theft to keep things running smoothly. They try to make up for it by watching for patterns and narrowing down circumstances to catch repeat offenders. Is merchandise disappearing from the stockroom? Put extra eyes/cameras on the stuff most likely to disappear. Is it happening at certain times? Check those times against work schedules. Repeat thieves end up getting caught.

The point of all this is that this woman has attracted too much attention by repeating her crimes and only varying locations. Sooner or later she will be caught. (Too bad this doesn’t apply so easily to corporate thieves. Most are smart enough to buy protection from politicians and know the limits of what they can get away with.)

Boy this lady sure gets around.