FBI Agent Arrests Suspected 'Cell Phone Bandit'

FBI agents arrested a woman Tuesday who was suspected of robbing four banks in suburban Virginia while appearing to be talking on a cell phone.

Candice R. Martinez, 19, was arrested just before 4 a.m. at a home in nearby Centreville, Va. after an FBI agent spotted a car nearby with license plates they had been searching for.

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, a spokeswoman from the FBI's Washington Field Office.

"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 cell phone.

Investigators weren't sure whether Martinez was actually talking to someone while she demanded cash or if it was just 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. Court papers said Williams once worked at one of the banks that was robbed.

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 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.


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Loading