‘Plain Jane Bandit’ suspect appears in court

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A 38-year-old woman accused of being the a serial bank robber the FBI calls the “Plain Jane Bandit” has made her initial appearance in federal court, officials said.
Sylvia Helen Melendez Garcia, a Compton resident initially described to be a Downey woman by authorities, had an initial appearance Monday in federal court, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
She was charged Monday with a single county of bank robbery, though she is suspected in a total of eight robberies and attempted robberies at banks in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, according to court documents.
Authorities allege Garcia began her serial bank robbery career with heists at U.S. Bank branches in Santa Fe Springs on July 12 and 19. She allegedly went on to rob, or try to rob, banks in Buena Park, Cerritos, Moreno Valley and Wildomar.
Garcia was released from custody on a $75,000 bond Monday after appearing in court, where she did not enter a plea, Eimiller said. A deputy federal public defender was assigned to represent her.
She was ordered back to federal court in Los Angeles for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 27, and for an arraignment Aug. 31, officials said.
PHOTO composite of the ‘Plain Jane Bandit’ bank robber courtesy of the FBI.

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