Woman Identified as Cell Phone Bandit
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The cell phone bandit's phone is apparently racking up roaming charges.
Fairfax and Loudoun county authorities said yesterday that they had identified the mysterious woman with the phone glued to her ear in a series of Northern Virginia bank robberies. But, they said, they don't know where 19-year-old Candice R. Martinez is.
Police charged Martinez in warrants Saturday with bank holdups in Springfield and Ashburn, two of four robberies allegedly committed in recent weeks by a young woman who carried on cell phone conversations while demanding cash from Wachovia bank branches.
In a brief telephone interview last night, a woman who identified herself as Martinez's stepmother said: "She's a good girl. She comes from a good home."
The woman, who was reached at her home in Santa Fe, N.M., and who identified herself as Jackie Martinez, said the matter was "overwhelming for the whole family."
After searching the suspect's Chantilly apartment Saturday night, detectives waited for Candice Martinez over the weekend, but she did not go home. So police again turned to the public yesterday for help in capturing the cell phone bandit.
Tips from the public -- after photos and video footage of the bandit were published and broadcast nationwide -- led authorities to Martinez, court records show. Fairfax police said their Crime Solvers tip line received more than 30 calls Friday after the images were shown, including remarkably clear surveillance video of the woman at a teller's window in Ashburn.
The first robbery took place Oct. 12 in Vienna, at the Wachovia branch at 212 E. Maple Ave. The second was Oct. 21 in Prince William County, at 8441 Sudley Rd. in the Manassas area. The next day, the branch at 7030 Old Keene Mill Rd. in Springfield was robbed.
Detectives showed a surveillance photo from the Prince William holdup to a Springfield teller. "That's her," he said. Police were not able to get photos from the Springfield robbery.
The fourth heist, at 43780 Parkhurst Plaza in Ashburn, came Nov. 4. In the previous three, the woman taped a note to a box and shoved it toward a teller. This time, Loudoun sheriff's deputies said, she opened a purse and showed a gun.
In an affidavit for a warrant to search Martinez's apartment in the Shenandoah Crossing complex, just off Route 50 near Chantilly High School, Fairfax Detective James A. Williams said the robber's note in the Springfield holdup "appeared to be computer generated."
Williams wrote that the woman stood in the lobby, chatting on the phone and holding a box while waiting for a teller. Six employees were working, and several customers were there at 3:30 p.m. that Saturday afternoon, according to Williams.