FBI: “Bad Hair Bandit” Bank Robber Apprehended - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FBI: “Bad Hair Bandit” Bank Robber Apprehended

Official release from the FBI:  

On Monday, August 15, 2011, the Placer County Sheriff's office, in California, arrested Cynthia Van Holland, date of birth 12/24/1963, for bank robbery.  Investigators on the FBI Safe Streets Task Forces in Seattle and Sacramento believe that Van Holland is the same person nicknamed "Bad Hair Bandit," who is responsible for up to 20 bank robberies across four states.  Placer County Sheriff deputies arrested Van Holland and her alleged getaway driver, Christopher Alonzo, date of birth 08/14/1985, 12 miles from the Bank of the West in Auburn, California. 

Around 2:25 p.m., a female had entered the Bank of the West and passed a note to a teller demanding money and stating that she was armed.  She was given an undetermined amount of money and left the bank.  Placer County Sheriff deputies were able to arrest Van Holland and Alonzo when their vehicle and license plate matched a description given by a witness.

Van Holland is suspected of committing or attempting bank robberies throughout Washington state and in Oregon, Montana, and California.  Investigators learned from witnesses that the robber typically waited in line as a customer before each robbery, then produced a note to a teller, in which she demanded cash and stated that she was armed.  The Bad Hair Bandit earned her nickname for the variety of wigs she wore during robberies.  Personnel in the FBI Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City and Sacramento divisions, and in several local law enforcement agencies, collaborated on this investigation.

The following is a list of bank robberies or attempts attributed to the Bad Hair Bandit:

  • US Bank, Tacoma, WA—12/22/2010
  • Key Bank, Tumwater, WA—01/05/2011
  • Key Bank, Tacoma, WA—01/12/2011
  • Wells Fargo Bank, Spanaway, WA—01/14/2011
  • Heritage Bank, Tacoma, WA—01/21/2011
  • Cathay Bank, Kent, WA—01/26/2011
  • First Security Bank, Redmond, WA—01/27/2011
  • US Bank, Auburn, WA—02/10/2011
  • Wells Fargo Bank, University Place, WA—02/19/2011
  • Sound Community Bank, Tacoma, WA—03/25/2011
  • Wells Fargo Bank, University Place, WA—04/09/2011
  • Cathay Bank, Bellevue, WA—04/21/2011
  • Wheatland Bank, Ellensburg, WA—04/26/2011
  • Key Bank, Moses Lake, WA—04/27/2011
  • Chase Bank, Spokane, WA—05/09/2011
  • Sterling Bank, Moses Lake, WA—06/07/2011
  • Key Bank, Lake Oswego, OR—07/01/2011
  • Yakima Federal, Richland, WA—07/18/2011
  • Bank of Butte, Butte, MT—08/11/2011
  • Bank of the West, Auburn, CA—08/15/2011

The FBI continues to provide financial institutions with the best practices for security to make them less vulnerable to robberies. 

If anyone has any information on the bank robberies above, or any bank robbery, please call the FBI Safe Streets Task Force at 206-262-2390; or, you can remain anonymous and earn up to $1,000 by calling 1-800-222-TIPS, the 24/7 tips line of the Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound. 

 

PREVIOUS STORY: 

AUBURN, Calif. - Two people with ties to the Inland Northwest have been arrested for robbing a bank in Auburn, California - Cynthia Van Holland, 47, and Christopher Alonzo, 26, both from Hayden, Idaho. According to reports, the FBI is working to determine if the female suspect is in fact the woman dubbed as the 'Bad Hair Bandit'.

Authorities say it could be the same woman who robbed a bank in Butte, Montana, last week, and may be the so-called 'Bad Hair Bandit' thought to be responsible for at least 18 bank robberies and attempted bank robberies throughout Washington State and Oregon since December 2010, according to the FBI's website.

According to the FBI, the 'Bad Hair Bandit' enters the bank and passes a note to a teller demanding cash and states that she is armed.

Holland and her male getaway driver only made it about 12 miles from their Auburn, California crime scene when they were caught by Placer County Sheriff's deputies as they fled westbound on Interstate 80 Monday afternoon.

Around 2:25 p.m., the female entered the Bank of the West in Auburn, California. She passed a note to a teller demanding money and stating that she was armed. She was given an undetermined amount of money and left the bank.

Witnesses in the busy shopping center saw the woman run from the bank and get into the getaway car that was parked behind the bank. The male suspect then drove off. A very observant witness gave deputies the vehicle description and a possible license plate number.

Minutes later, deputies who were staking out Interstate 80, spotted the vehicle and the pair was arrested without incident.

Both suspects were booked at the Placer County Jail on charges of bank robbery.

Police said the woman involved in the Bank of Butte robbery entered the bank at around at around 10 a.m. Thursday and handed a teller a note demanding money and implied that she had a weapon, but a weapon was not brandished. She then fled with more than $1,000 in cash. No one was hurt in the Butte bank robbery.

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