Plain Jane Bandit and 9 Other Notorious Thief Nicknames

Plain Jane Bandit
ABCNEWS.com

They call her the "Plain Jane Bandit." She has allegedly robbed more than six banks over the last three weeks -- without even bothering to wear a disguise.

But her spree may have ended, according to authorities. Today ABC News' Los Angeles affilate KABC-TV reported that a California woman had been arrested in the bank robberies.

Catchy nicknames are a key tactic the FBI uses to capture repeat robbers. The media amplify it and link it to an image, allowing the public to help spot the robber.

Here are some of the memorable nicknames the FBI has given to thieves in recent years.

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: The FBI in Whittier, Moreno Valley are seeking information leading to the identity of an unidentified female bank robber known as the "Plain Jane" Bandit.
Los Angeles Field Office
The Plain Jane Bandit

The bank robber nicknamed the Plain Jane Bandit struck for a seventh time Monday, attempting to rob a Bank of America in Downey, Calif.

Today authorities said they'd arrested Sylvia Helen Garcia near her residence in Downey, Calif., in connection with the robberies.

The Plain Jane Bandit has been linked to a series of five bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies around Southern California since July 12.

In all seven instances, the woman followed the same method, using both written and verbal demands and telling the bank teller an accomplice was waiting outside, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Authorities have not disclosed how much money she has stolen. They have not suggested a possible name.

Witnesses described the suspect as a Hispanic woman in her mid-30s, between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-5 and 150-170 pounds. She may drive a silver four-door vehicle.

Her alleged accomplice has not yet been seen. Her nickname came from a witness' description of her as a "plain Jane."

10 Nicknamed Bandits

The Bad Hair Bandit

Cynthia Lynn Van Holland became known as the Bad Hair Bandit for the assortment of ill-fitting wigs she wore when she robbed banks.

Van Holland, 48, pled guilty on July 25 to 21 courts of bank robbery. According to court documents, she committed robberies in four different states and five different federal districts.

According to the FBI website, Van Holland would typically enter a bank and pass a note to a teller, demanding cash and stating that she is armed. She tended to wear a zippered hoodie, eyeglasses, a baseball cap and some type of wig, and fled by car.

According to The Associated Press, Van Holland is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 10, 2012.

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: Top 7 Nicknamed Bandits
Photo courtesy of the FBI / labankrobbers.org
The Dying Son Bandit

Steven Hart, known as the Dying Son Bandit, emerged in San Diego and Orange County in California, playing the pity card to wrangle money out of his victims.

At each of his robberies, the 49-year-old California man claimed he was committing the crimes because he needed the money to pay for his son's medical bills.

The FBI arrested Hart on Jan. 21 at his Carlesbad, Calif., home, without incident, following a multi-jurisdictional investigation into his 11 bank robberies and attempted robberies committed between November 2011 and January 2012.

The grand jury indictment alleged Hart netted more than $17,000 in five bank robberies in Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Marcos, Oceanside and San Diego. Hart initially pleaded not guilty to federal and attempted robbery charges.

But on March 30, the Dying Son ruse died: Hart pleaded guilty to bank robbery, the clerk for the U.S. Southern District Court said. Hart was sentenced to 70 months in prison, and he will have to pay $18,827.75 in restitution to the banks he robbed.

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: Top 7 Nicknamed Bandits
Nbc4i.com
The Church Lady Bandit

The Church Lady Bandit shook up central Ohio, robbing 11 banks between 2006 and 2012.

Sylvette Gilbert, 46, earned her nickname from a bank teller who told officials she was nicely dressed, carried a purse and even wore a proper hat, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said.

The Church Lady Bandit would typically hand the teller a note demanding money. O'Brien said she was so hard to catch because she wasn't the typical robber and would "disappear into the crowd."

"She was typically taking local buses," O'Brien said. "She would jump on a bus and be gone before anyone knew what was going on."

O'Brien said the Church Lady Bandit was convicted on 22 counts and sentenced to 51 years in prison for the string of robberies she committed.

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: Top 7 Nicknamed Bandits
FBI
The Puffy Coat Bandit

The alleged Puffy Coat Bandit was wanted for seven different robberies that spanned three counties in less than three weeks.

Steven Dwayne Paulson, 46, was indicted on Jan. 25, 2012, on seven counts of bank robbery. His biggest take was a Dec. 22, 2011, holdup in Corona, Calif., where he made away with $21,429, according to the indictment.

Paulson earned his nickname from the ski jacket he wore in his robbery on Dec. 20, 2011. In other robberies, he was seen wearing the same jacket or a plaid coat, his head always covered with a baseball hat or beanie. His style was to hand the teller a note before revealing a weapon concealed under his puffy coat, according to the FBI website.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Paulson appeared in court July 26 and has been remanded to federal custody.

The nicknames might sound ridiculous, but they help brand and catch the perpetrators.

"It's a law enforcement tool to keep track of bank robbers," Eimiller said. "The byproduct of naming bank robbers is the media and public like it. It's intriguing and helps us in getting people to look at photos and inevitably leads to tips," she said.

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: Top 7 Nicknamed Bandits
FBI
The Geezer Bandit

The Geezer Bandit is still at large in Southern California and is believed to be extremely violent.

The man, who is described as being between 70 and 80 years old, has robbed at least 16 banks since 2009 in San Diego and Los Angeles counties, FBI special agent Darrell Foxworth told ABC News. But the Geezer Bandit might not be a geezer after all, according to FBI spokeswoman Eimiller, who said "his movements were far too agile."

The Geezer Bandit could be wearing a mask, according to Eimiller and Foxworth, adding that he acts like an elderly man, politely waiting in line before passing the teller a note and grabbing his gun.

"He has gone into the bank and pointed the weapon at the tellers and threatened to shoot them. He doesn't appear to have any hesitation at all pointing that weapon," Foxworth said. "We can't let his overall appearance deceive us."

The Geezer Bandit is considered armed and dangerous. The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for his capture.

"He is one of our most violent robbers," Eimiller said.

A Facebook page created for the Geezer Bandit has more than 12,000 friends.

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: 7 Top Nicknamed Bandits
The Mississippi Press, Cherie Ward/AP Photo
The Handsome Bandit

The Handsome Bandit charmed victims with his dapper dress as he robbed banks throughout North Texas. But like the Geezer Bandit, FBI officials said the appearance was actually a disguise.

The Handsome Bandit was "wearing a latex-type mask" when he robbed a bank in Richardson, Texas, according to an FBI statement. He pointed a handgun at the bank manager and demanded money from the vault. After he got the money, he forced all witnesses into the bathroom and demanded they count until 500 and not contact the police.

As he fled, he fired shots at police officers. After his escape, police scanned the area and found the attractive mask.

"While searching the surrounding area, officers located a mask, blue warm-up suit, handgun and plastic bags containing cash. Inside a pocket of the warm-up suit, officers found a key fob and matched it to a vehicle, registered to [Steven Ray] Milam, that was parked at the bank," the FBI said in a statement.

After a high-speed car chase in Jackson, Miss., Jan. 4, 2012, police arrested Milam, 44, as The Handsome Bandit. Milam plead guilty on May 22 to 11 counts of bank robbery in federal court in Dallas.

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: Top 7 Nicknamed Bandits
Cobb County Police/AP Photo
The Barbie Bandits

The Barbie Bandits accidentally robbed the wrong Bank of America near Atlanta. Ashley Miller and Heather Johnson were supposed to have an inside man at the bank. But the duo, dressed in tight jeans and oversized sunglass, got lost and robbed the wrong branch.

"We took a wrong turn somewhere, ended up going to a completely different Bank of America," Johnson told ABC News' David Muir in 2007.

When they realized their mistake, the girls called the inside man and made their way to the right branch. The blonde bombshells took thousands of dollars and went straight to the salon. The girls, who worked as exotic dancers, were later caught and arrested.

Johnson, who was a college freshman and scholarship recipient, said she went down the wrong path.

"I went wild. I was on drugs most of the time," she told Muir in the 2007 interview. "I didn't care what anyone had to say. I was going to do it my way."

10 Nicknamed Bandits

PHOTO: Nicknamed Bandits
Ted S. Warren/AP Photo
The Barefoot Bandit

The Barefoot Bandit evaded the FBI for years before his capture in the Bahamas in July 2010.

His spree of stealing boats, handguns and planes spanned several states and even countries, including Canada and the Bahamas, according to an FBI statement. In his last crime, the Barefoot Bandit stole a plane from Bloomington, Ind., and crash-landed after it ran out of fuel in the Bahamas where he was finally arrested. Colton Harris-Moore admitted to the crimes.

The Barefoot Bandit owed his victims at least $1,409,438, according to the FBI. As a part of his plea agreement, the debt will be paid off by any financial gains made from telling his story. He also surrendered the right to receive any personal gain from selling his celebrity.

"He was portrayed as a celebrity," Ayn Sandalo Dietrich, spokesperson for the FBI Seattle division, told ABC News. "Even his own nickname indicates the level of interest, but we are pleased that he took responsibility for his actions because his activities were anything but glamorous and had real victims."

Harris-Moore was sentenced in January to 6 1/2 years in federal prison by a federal judge in Washington state.

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