Lady Bank Robber Faces Substantial Penalty

Things must be tough all over.

Cristina Padilla Bank Robber

Cristina Fernandez Padilla, 51, pleaded no contest Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to eight felonies, including several counts of second-degree robbery, evading a police officer, and assault with a car as a deadly weapon. Without that plea she faced up to 32 years in prison, prosecutors said, but is now facing 20-year prison term.

Padilla was arrested in August 2013 after she tried to rob a Golden Credit Union branch in San Luis Obispo. She was known for robbing smaller banks and credit unions, often chatting amicably with tellers before showing them a note demanding money.

The Monterey Credit Union robbery in Pacific Grove was the only robbery in which Padilla allegedly brandished a handgun.

Besides Pacific Grove, she is suspected of robbing banks in Atascadero, Nipomo, Paso Robles, Modesto and Pismo Beach. In 2005, she was convicted for a burglary in Monterey County.

Lady Bank Robber Faces Substantial Penalty

Lady Bank Robber’s Evidence

While one of our most interesting criminals, certainly not the smartest.

While Padilla pleaded not guilty to her charges, evidence found from the search warrant link her to several of the robberies.

Inside her Watsonville home police found some of the clothes she allegedly wore when she robbed the six banks including a t-shirt with “Garden Isle of Kauii” written on the front, the same shirt described in the Pismo Beach robbery. In Padilla’s car police found several hand written notes, one read “hand me all of your large bills. I will shoot you.”

Lady Bank Robber’s Evidence

Lady Bank Robber’s Motive For Serial Bank Holdups

She had financial difficulties and decided to take out a few low loans and not pay them back. Sounds like a perfect government stimulus plan.

Cristina Padilla

Cristina Padilla’s confession and other new details surrounding Padilla’s alleged crime spree are outlined in an affidavit for a search warrant that was filed by the Pacific Grove Police Department.

Padilla, 50, used the Internet to research how to rob a bank, the affidavit states.

Police searched Padilla’s apartment at 15 West Lake avenue in Watsonville and found clothing that the accused bank bandit wore when she allegedly held up banks. Also recovered from her downtown apartment were notes Padilla apparently gave to tellers in her quest to get money. One note read: “quickly hand me all of the large bills, no ones.”

The affidavit also details the note Padilla handed one bank teller in Pacific Grove which read: “This is not a joke. Don’t be a stupid. Give me all the money in your drawer. You have 1 1/2 minutes to give me all the money, then 2 men with shotguns will come in here and shoot you. Don’t be stupid.”

Her alleged crime spree began in Pacific Grove at Monterey Credit Union on New Year’s Eve. Police believe she then robbed two banks in Atascadero on Valentine’s Day.

Lady Bank Robber’s Motive For Serial Bank Holdups

Watsonville Woman Charged With P.G. Bank Robbery

Cristina Padilla

A 50-year-old mother, dubbed the Central Coast Bandit, has been charged with 13 counts of felony robbery and burglary in association with a string of bank robberies in San Luis Obispo County.

Cristina Fernandez Padilla of Watsonville is scheduled to appear in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Wednesday morning for her initial arraignment. Police say Padilla matched the description of a woman who robbed banks in Atascadero, Nipomo, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Modesto and Pacific Grove.

Watsonville Woman Charged With P.G. Bank Robbery

Lady Bank Robber Caught

OK, it never was the ex mayor.

Mayor Garcia With Robbers Hat

Cristine Padilla BW

Police said late Friday the woman believed to be the “Central Coast Bandit” has been apprehended and is in FBI custody after crashing her car in Paso Robles on Friday.

San Luis Obispo police Lt. Bill Proll said the woman, possibly a resident of the Watsonville area, fled from a local bank and was chased by California Highway Patrol officers as she raced north on Highway 101.

Proll said that the incident that led to her arrest began shortly before 6 p.m. Friday, as a woman appeared ready to rob a Golden One Credit Union in San Luis Obispo.
“An alert bank employee called police before she tried to do the robbery,” Proll said.

He said San Luis Obispo police responded but decided chasing the woman’s vehicle across city streets would be too dangerous, especially “since nothing happened in the bank.”

But they alerted CHP officers, who pursued the woman on the 30-mile chase to Paso Robles, where her vehicle crashed and she was arrested, he said.

As of late Friday, she was in FBI custody, Proll said, who added he was confident police have the right woman.

Lady Bank Robber Caught

P.G. Bank Robber Branching Out

To other areas. At first glance at the picture I thought she looked like Carmelita.
Cristine Padilla BW Mayor Garcia With Robbers Hat

Back in December the woman robbed the Monterey Credit Union in Pacific Grove. Police believe she could be tied to robbing four different banks along the Central Coast.

The woman walked into the Monterey Credit Union cool, calm, and collected with nothing suspicious about her. She even had a brief conversation with the teller and that’s when the seemingly harmless lady turned dangerous, police said.

She told the teller it was robbery, that she had gun and there were people outside with guns. That’s when she opened her purse and flashed a pistol, investigators said.

Three more robberies in San Luis Obispo County have police thinking it’s the same culprit. “Very similar MO’s very similar descriptions for the person,” said Pacific Grove Police Officer Jon Miller.

P.G. Bank Robber Branching Out