Stephanie Lynn Schwab, suspect in Md., Va. crime rampage, charged in federal court

December 1, 2011

A Manassas area woman suspected of carrying out a string of brazen carjackings and bank robberies in Northern Virginia and Maryland over the past two weeks was charged in Virginia federal court Thursday.

Stephanie Lynn Schwab, 26, was charged with a single count of felony bank robbery, but officials said additional counts will probably be filed. The mother of two could enter a plea at a hearing Monday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Schwab admitted to FBI agents after her arrest that she carjacked a woman at Tysons II Galleria on Nov. 19 and robbed a West Springfield BB&T bank branch of about $1,800 on Nov. 22, according to charging documents.

A federal judge assigned a court-appointed attorney to Schwab, who answered the judge’s questions in a hushed voice during her brief court appearance. She did not make a statement. She wore a purple sweater and blue jeans.

Schwab was apprehended Wednesday after allegedly attempting to rob a BB&T branch in McLean, Fairfax County police said. Police had been tipped off to the robbery, and an officer spotted her car on the Capital Beltway as she was making a getaway, authorities said.


Police released surveillance photos of the robbery of the BB&T Bank that took place on Tuesday, Nov. 22 around 1 p.m. Stephanie Lynn Schwab, 26, has been charged in the bank robbery. (Courtesy of Fairfax County Police)

The officer tailed her, and after she crashed her car in Montgomery County, he chased her down on foot, police said. The arrest ended an alleged crime rampage that stretched from Manassas to Baltimore County.

The rampage began Nov. 18, when Schwab entered a Manassas Commerce Bank, implied she had a gun and demanded money, according to Prince William County police.

The next day, Schwab allegedly approached a woman in the parking lot of Tysons II Galleria, told her that she was out of gas and requested a ride to a gas station, according to authorities. Once the car was moving, Schwab allegedly pulled a knife on the woman. Authorities say she drove off in the car after the victim escaped at a stop.

Schwab allegedly struck the bank in West Springfield on Nov. 22. Then, on Thanksgiving, she posed as hitchhiker in Baltimore County, police said, and carjacked a woman at knifepoint. There was a struggle for the weapon, and the woman who had picked up Schwab was cut on one hand, police said.

Schwab is a former member of the MS-13 gang, and she testified in federal court in 2005 against four gang members accused of killing a government informant. Two were convicted in the case.

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