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'Starlet Bandit' wanted in string of L.A.-area bank robberies

April 29, 2010 |  6:13 pm
Starlet Bandit A woman known as the "Starlet Bandit" is suspected of robbing two banks Thursday and has been linked to a series of bank robberies dating to 2008, according to federal authorities.

In the two robberies Thursday, the woman appears to have hit a Citibank in Woodland Hills around 10:45 a.m. and a Chase Bank in North Hills about an hour earlier, the FBI said.

In all, the woman is suspected of 10 bank robberies -- eight of them within the last two weeks, said Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles. The banks are in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and Palmdale.

The woman was initially dubbed the Starlet Bandit because she had robbed a bank in Hollywood and wore large sunglasses, giving her a "starlet" look, Eimiller said. She said the woman appears to have gained some weight since the initial robberies.

The woman has been seen toting a handbag and cellphone with glitter and jewels. She also has worn a baseball cap, jeans, beige hooded sweater and black sunglasses, the FBI said. In at least one incident, the robber threatened that she was carrying a weapon.

In one of the robberies Thursday, the woman was described as sporting a red ponytail with blond highlights.

Witnesses have told authorities that the woman has approached tellers while talking on her cellphone and has been overhead saying, "I'm at the counter already." She has passed notes to tellers demanding money, according to the FBI.

The woman has been seen leaving crime scenes in a white Toyota Avalon with a male driver.

She is described as white, 20 to 28 years old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing between 140 and 170 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (310) 477-6565.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Surveillance image of Starlet Bandit. Credit: FBI.