Woman Robs Bank While Talking on Cell

They are calling her the "cell phone bandit."

An unidentified woman has allegedly robbed four Wachovia bank branches in the Washington, D.C., suburbs over past month. Police say she pulled off the holdups without ever hanging up her cell phone.

The woman has been described as 5-foot-2 with dark hair and in her mid-20s.

"She blends in," said Loudon County, Va., Sheriff Steve Simpson, who's leading the investigation. "We are still looking for her. We are hoping that someone will recognize her based on this great video we have of her. There doesn't seem to be a pattern as far as days of the week or time as far as I know … but she has stayed in this region."

This most recent robbery occurred at a Wachovia bank in Ashburn, Va., on Friday, Nov. 4. The suspect walked into the bank talking on her phone and approached the teller. She flashed a gun that she'd hidden in her purse and then passed the teller a note demanding cash. The teller handed her a wad of cash and the suspect turned and walked out of the bank.

The use of a cell phone during the robberies has authorities completely baffled.

"She could be using it as a prop to blend in," Simpson said. "But she could be talking to a lookout, a co-conspirator who's walking her through the holdup. Maybe she's just talking to a friend or her mom. We just don't know right now."

The suspect appears "pretty relaxed" on the surveillance video, Simpson said.

She also appears alert, said Candace DeLong, a former profiler for the FBI.

"I think she is completely aware of everything that is going on around her, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there is no one on the other end of the phone," DeLong said.

"A year ago I would say it's really strange, but this the third case of serial female bank robbery in area," Simpson said. "Maybe it's not that strange anymore."

Desiree Adib contributed to this report.

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