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Suspected 'Plain Jane Bandit,' linked to 6 bank heists, is captured

August 3, 2012 | 12:49 pm

Plain jane bandit

The suspected "Plain Jane Bandit," believed responsible for at least six Southern California bank robberies and two failed attempts last month, has been arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and FBI.

Sylvia Helen Garcia, 38, of Downey was taken into custody after the FBI received several tips from people who had seen photographs from surveillance cameras that had circulated in the media, officials said.

Garcia allegedly attempted to rob a Bank of America on Monday in the 10000 block of Paramount Boulevard in Downey, officials said.

She walked into the bank and demanded money but left before taking any, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

As in the other incidents, the woman spoke of a person outside the bank, officials said. Authorities believe the other person is a ruse because no witnesses have reported seeing an accomplice.

The Plain Jane Bandit is believed to be responsible for a series of robberies that began July 12 in Santa Fe Springs and continued in Whittier, Moreno Valley, Buena Park and Wildomar, Eimiller said.

U.S. Bank offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robber. All the successful robberies were at U.S. Bank branches.

Authorities declined to say how much money she took because of concerns about copycat robberies, but they said the sum was not "a lot."


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Photo: Surveillance image of the "Plain Jane Bandit" about to enter a bank. Credit: KTLA-TV