A woman suspected in several bank robberies and attempted bank robberies during July was taken into custody Thursday evening after deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and an FBI agent responded to a tip from the public.
Sylvia Helen Garcia, 38, of Downey, was arrested near her residence in the city of Downey at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. At the time, Garcia was driving a silver vehicle that matched the description provided by several witnesses to the bank robberies in which she’s suspected. Additional evidence tying Garcia to the bank robberies was also recovered during the arrest.
The Plain Jane Bandit was the moniker given to an unidentified female bank robber who was linked to eight bank robberies, two of which were attempted robberies, since July 12, 2012. The first two robberies in the Plain Jane series took place in the cities of Santa Fe Springs and Whittier. The latest robbery took place in the city of Cerritos on Tuesday, July 31. The suspect was also linked to robberies in the cities of Moreno Valley, Buena Park, and Wildomar and attempted robberies in the cities of Moreno Valley and Downey.
During the bank robberies attributed to the Plain Jane Bandit, the suspect demanded cash from victim tellers, in some cases, specifying amounts of several hundred dollars. During the robberies, the suspect used written and verbal demands and indicated that someone, possibly an accomplice, was waiting for her outside the bank, according to witnesses. Garcia is currently the only suspect in custody in connection with the bank robberies.
Witnesses had described the suspect as an Hispanic female between 35-40 years old and possibly driving what was described by witnesses as a four-door, silver vehicle.
During an interview with a witness in one of the earlier robberies, the suspect’s appearance was described as that of a “plain jane.”
Garcia is currently being held at the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station and is expected to be charged with bank robbery on Monday.
Law enforcement received numerous tips during this investigation, in large part due to the broad media coverage. Additional information about bank robbers currently wanted by the FBI’s Los Angeles Division’s seven-county territory and our law enforcement partners can be found at www.labankrobbers.org.
The investigation of this suspect is being conducted by members of the FBI and the following departments: the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; the Whittier Police Department; Moreno Valley Police Department; Buena Park Police Department; and the Downey Police Department.
FBI Press Relations: 310 996-3343
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: 323 267-4800