Number of women robbing banks rising

Published On: Jan 10 2012 11:51:40 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 19 2012 11:01:21 PM CST

Jan. 19, 2012: Investigators are noticing a new bank robbery trend in the Houston area -- Bonnie without Clyde. Amy Davis reports.


What do Jesse James, John Dillinger and Butch Cassidy all have in common? They're all infamous bank robbers, and they're all men. But investigators are noticing a new trend in the Houston area -- Bonnie without Clyde.

Local 2 Investigates discovered the percentage of bank robberies committed by women in the Houston area shot up from 3 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2011.

"Most of the bank robberies are not very violent," former Austin Police Department Officer Tom Walsh said, who has worked on the FBI's Bank Robbery Task Force. "They're demand notes, and there's no violence at all."

It's how all of the women who robbed banks in the Houston area in 2011 carried out the crime.

Ashley Facundo, 18, slid the teller a note at the Wells Fargo in Pearland. Three days after KPRC Local 2 showed the pictures captured on the bank's surveillance cameras, Facundo was arrested.

Local 2 requested a jailhouse interview with her, but she declined.

Profilers speculate that women are driven to crime more out of need than greed, and that the downturn in the economy could explain all of the crimes as acts of desperation. Walsh doesn't buy that.

"If the economy goes bad, it's not just a few people that are suffering, it's a grand majority of the people that are suffering," he said.  "And the grand majority of people are not out stealing and robbing banks."

We can't tell you their motive with any certainty.

The woman dubbed the rub-a-dub robber because of the shower cap and pajama bottoms she wore is still on the run. She is one of the first Houston-area female serial robbers. The FBI said she's responsible for at least four robberies since mid-November. 

"Nine times out of 10, I would come out of the interview room and wonder, 'What were they thinking?'" said Walsh.

Overall, the total number of bank robberies in Houston and Harris County were down significantly from 2010 to 2011. There were 171 robberies in 2010, compared to 79 in 2011. But the number of those robberies committed by women was up.

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