FBI Says Cell Phone Pair Stole $48,000
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The accused cell phone bandit and her boyfriend netted $48,000 during four bank robberies in Northern Virginia and then planned to flee to Texas or New Mexico after their case attracted national attention, an FBI agent testified yesterday.
Candice R. Martinez and Dave C. Williams, both 19, made separate court appearances yesterday and were ordered held without bond. Martinez was arraigned in Loudoun County, where she is charged in the Nov. 4 holdup in Ashburn that yielded the now-infamous videotape of a bank robber who simply could not put down her phone.
Williams had a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, where he is charged with bank robbery in an Oct. 12 holdup in Vienna. FBI Special Agent Timothy Pak testified that Williams said in a handwritten note that he was the getaway driver in all four Wachovia robberies.
"In each robbery, Candice entered the bank with a note we prepared on the computer stating Give me money from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd drawer or we will shoot you or a person close to you," according to the statement, which was entered into evidence yesterday. "In each robbery, Candice stayed on a cell phone talking to me outside in the car. . . . Candice displayed a .38 cal revolver I gave her in the last robbery," a reference to the gun shown to a teller in the Ashburn holdup.
A large contingent of family and friends appeared in court in support of Williams, and a report by pretrial services to U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry R. Poretz recommended that Williams be released on bond. But Poretz said Williams had disclosed a plan to flee in conversations with investigators and was a flight risk.
After the hearing, Williams's mother, Deo Smith, said her son had never been in trouble previously, had worked a variety of jobs before and after graduating from high school in 2004 and had been attending Northern Virginia Community College -- where he met Martinez.
Smith said her son and Martinez had dated for about two months and recently moved in together, to Smith's chagrin. But she said that Martinez was "always a very nice, sweet girl. I was happy that she cared about Dave."
Smith said that when she saw the photograph of the cell phone bandit on television, "I said, 'That looks like Candice.' " Smith went to her computer and printed out the photo. "And then I just sat there for hours. I couldn't believe it was Candice."
She said she tried to call Martinez to ask her about it but did not reach her.
At the combined preliminary and detention hearing for Williams, Pak said the robber's note to the teller in Vienna did not demand $75,000, as Pak had written in an affidavit. Instead, the note ordered the teller to provide cash or the teller would be shot, Pak said.
Pak said the four robberies -- in Vienna, Manassas, Springfield and Ashburn -- netted $48,000, of which $15,000 had been "accounted for," without specifying whether it had been found or spent. Williams's statement gave an amount for each holdup, and it totaled $40,000.
Pak said police, who received numerous tips in the case last weekend, contacted Williams and his mother Monday, and the two came in voluntarily for questioning. Williams was released after cooperating with investigators.
Several hours later, agents called Williams and asked to see him again, Pak said. Williams agreed and was arrested. It was not explained why the couple did not flee.
Unlike a stream of other dejected-looking suspects who appeared before General District Court Judge Dean Worcester in Loudoun yesterday morning, Martinez spoke with assurance about her legal arrangements and questioned the judge about her status.
She told the judge by video hookup that she had retained a Fairfax County lawyer, Michael S. Davis. "He came to me. I hired him," Martinez said. "They are working my case pro bono," she added.
At the brief court appearance, Worcester was wrapping up a few procedural matters, and Martinez asked the judge: "I'm held without bond?"
"The magistrate ordered you held without bond, yes," the judge answered.
Michael Lindner, Davis's law partner, said Davis had visited Martinez in the Fairfax jail after learning that she was alleged to have confessed. He said that Davis made the visit "purely out of altruistic intentions" and that their firm often represents defendants for free.