DOWNEY - The Plain Jane Bandit, suspected of robbing or attempting to rob at least eight banks during the month of July, was identified last week as Downey resident Sylvia Helen Garcia, FBI officials said.Acting on a tip, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies and an FBI agent arrested Garcia, 38, on Aug. 2 near her apartment complex on Stewart & Gray Road. Authorities said Garcia was driving a silver vehicle that matched the description provided by witnesses. FBI officials said they also recovered "additional evidence tying Garcia to the bank robberies," though they were not specific. Garcia is suspected of a crime spree that began July 12 when she allegedly held up a U.S. Bank in Santa Fe Springs. Exactly one week later she allegedly robbed a U.S. Bank in Whittier. She is accused of then heading to Moreno Valley, where she knocked off two banks on July 23. Authorities say she then hit two banks - in Buena Park and Wildomar - on July 24 and a Bank of America in Downey on July 30. Her last bank robbery came July 31 at a Chase bank in Cerritos, authorities alleged. Garcia is currently being held at the Lakewood Sheriff's Station and was formally charged with bank robbery on Monday. Garcia was dubbed the Plain Jane Bandit after a witness described her appearance "as that of a plain Jane." Surveillance videos showed that Garcia apparently made little attempt to disguise her appearance. The bank robberies garnered broad media attention, including a segment on ABC's "World News Tonight." The intense media coverage led to numerous tips from the public, investigators said.
********** Published: August 09, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 17