'Bad Hair Bandit' Apprehended After 4 State Robbery Spree
On Monday, August 15, 2011, the Placer County Sheriff’s office in California arrested Cynthia Van Holland, date of birth 12/24/1963, for bank robbery. Investigators on the FBI Safe Streets Task Forces in Seattle and Sacramento believe that Van Holland is the same person nicknamed the “Bad Hair Bandit,” who is responsible for up to 20 bank robberies across four states. Placer County Sheriff deputies arrested Van Holland and her alleged getaway driver, Christopher Alonzo, date of birth 08/14/1985, 12 miles from the Bank of the West in Auburn, California.
Around 2:25 p.m., a female had entered the Bank of the West and passed a note to a teller demanding money and stating that she was armed. She was given an undetermined amount of money and left the bank. Placer County Sheriff deputies were able to arrest Van Holland and Alonzo when their vehicle and license plate matched a description given by a witness.
Van Holland is suspected of committing or attempting bank robberies throughout Washington state and in Oregon, Montana, and California. Investigators learned from witnesses that the robber typically waited in line as a customer before each robbery, then produced a note to a teller in which she demanded cash and stated that she was armed. The Bad Hair Bandit earned her nickname for the variety of wigs she wore during robberies. Personnel in the FBI Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Sacramento Divisions, and in several local law enforcement agencies, collaborated on this investigation.
The following is a list of bank robberies or attempts attributed to the Bad Hair Bandit:
US Bank, Tacoma, WA—12/22/2010
Key Bank, Tumwater, WA—01/05/2011
Key Bank, Tacoma, WA—01/12/2011
Wells Fargo Bank, Spanaway, WA—01/14/2011
Heritage Bank, Tacoma, WA—01/21/2011
Cathay Bank, Kent, WA—01/26/2011
First Security Bank, Redmond, WA—01/27/2011
US Bank, Auburn, WA—02/10/2011
Wells Fargo Bank, University Place, WA—02/19/2011
Sound Community Bank, Tacoma, WA—03/25/2011
Wells Fargo Bank, University Place, WA—04/09/2011
Cathay Bank, Bellevue, WA—04/21/2011
Wheatland Bank, Ellensburg, WA—04/26/2011
Key Bank, Moses Lake, WA—04/27/2011
Chase Bank, Spokane, WA—05/09/2011
Sterling Bank, Moses Lake, WA—06/07/2011
Key Bank, Lake Oswego, OR—07/01/2011
Yakima Federal, Richland, WA—07/18/2011
Bank of Butte, Butte, MT—08/11/2011
Bank of the West, Auburn, CA—08/15/2011
The FBI continues to provide financial institutions with the best practices for security to make them less vulnerable to robberies.