A Manassas woman wanted in Maryland and Virginia in a series of armed carjackings and bank robberies was arrested Wednesday afternoon after she tried to rob a bank in Fairfax County, police said.
Stephanie Lynn Schwab, 26, was taken into custody in Montgomery County about 1 p.m. after she crashed her car, bailed out and ran from a police officer who was following her, authorities said.
Police had been tipped off to an attempted bank robbery at a BB&T branch in the 6220 block of Old Dominion Drive in McLean, Fairfax police officer Shelley Broderick said.
A Fairfax officer searching for the getaway car spotted it on the Capital Beltway and followed it into Montgomery County, where the car crashed at the Beltway interchange with Old Georgetown Road, Broderick said.
The driver got out and ran, and the officer chased her down, police said. Schwab was being held in Montgomery but will probably be transferred to Fairfax soon, Broderick said.
There were outstanding warrants for Schwab in connection with a bank robbery and armed carjacking in Fairfax and a bank robbery in Prince William County. She is also a suspect in a carjacking at knifepoint in Baltimore County, authorities said. Police said they think that she acted alone in all of the incidents.
The alleged crime rampage started Nov. 18, when police say Schwab walked into a Manassas Commerce Bank branch, implied that she had a gun and demanded money.
The next day, Schwab approached a woman in the Tysons II Galleria parking lot and asked for a ride to a gas station, police said. The victim agreed to give Schwab a ride in her Acura, police said, and as they drove away, Schwab pulled out a knife and demanded that the victim leave the car.
On Nov. 22, she struck again, police said, robbing a BB&T bank in the West Springfield area.
Two days later, on Thanksgiving, she allegedly posed as a hitchhiker in Baltimore County and carjacked a woman at knifepoint and demanded a ride to several grocery stores. The carjacking ended with a struggle over the knife, police said. The driver cut her hand, and the assailant ran away, police said.
Authorities later found the Acura carjacked from Tysons Corner outside one of the grocery stores in Baltimore County.
Schwab, the mother of two, is a former member of the violent MS-13 gang, according to authorities. The week before the alleged crime rampage, she was hanging out with gang members and moving from hotel room to hotel room, a relative said.
Schwab provided key testimony in the high-profile 2005 capital murder trial of four MS-13 gang members accused of killing a pregnant 17-year-old government informant. Two were found guilty.
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