DOWNEY — A Downey woman was in custody Friday on suspicion of being the “Plain Jane Bandit,” linked to eight Southern California bank robberies in recent weeks, including ones in Whittier and Santa Fe Springs.
Sylvia Helen Garcia, 38, was arrested Thursday evening and was in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as authorities were determining whether she would face state or federal charges, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller and county booking records.
A tip generated by media coverage of the serial bank robbery spree led to her identification and arrest near Downey, Eimiller added.
Garcia is accused of six bank robberies and two failed bank robberies since mid-July, authorities said.
The first robbery linked to the bandit took place July 12 at a Santa Fe Springs U.S. Bank branch, 13372 E. Telegraph Road, according to the FBI. She then hit the U.S. Bank at 13525 Whittier Blvd. in Whittier on July 19.
The Plain Jane Bandit, who earned her moniker because of her “plain” appearance as described by witnesses, went on to carry out robberies and robbery attempts at banks in Buena Park, Cerritos, Moreno Valley and Wildomar, investigators said.
During the robberies, the bandit used notes demanding money and indicated she had an accomplice waiting outside, though none was ever seen.
SURVEILLANCE PHOTO from bank of “Plain Jane Bandit” courtesy of the FBI.