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Suspected Cellphone Bandit Is Put on Hold

November 16, 2005|From Associated Press

CENTREVILLE, Va. — FBI agents arrested a woman early Tuesday who was suspected of robbing four banks in suburban Virginia while appearing to be talking on a cellphone.

Candice R. Martinez, 19, was arrested just before 4 a.m. at a home in Centreville after an FBI agent spotted a car that was being sought by authorities.

The FBI had issued a bulletin a few hours earlier saying Martinez and her boyfriend could be heading to Texas, New Mexico or New York, said Debbie Weierman, an FBI spokeswoman in Washington.

"It was a wonderful stroke of luck that [the agent] happened to spot that license plate, and everything unfolded safely and without incident," Weierman told WRC-TV.

Martinez is suspected of robbing four Wachovia Bank branches between Oct. 12 and Nov. 4.

Security cameras filmed the suspect walking up to tellers and handing them a note demanding cash -- all while appearing to be chatting on her cellphone.

Investigators weren't sure whether Martinez was actually talking to someone while she demanded cash or if it was a cover, Weierman said.

According to an affidavit filed by the FBI, Martinez confessed to the four robberies.

Her boyfriend, Dave C. Williams, 19, also confessed to driving the getaway car.

He was arrested late Monday in Fairfax, Va., and was charged with robbing a bank where he once worked.

Martinez was being held on one count of bank robbery in Fairfax County, but more charges were expected, police said.

FBI Special Agent Ron Chavarro, who spotted the car that agents were looking for, ordered two people out of the vehicle, and they led investigators to a house nearby where Martinez was staying, Chavarro said.

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