FBI Says More Women Robbing Banks

Sunday, March 8th 2009, 9:21 am
By: News On 6

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9 for News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City Police and the FBI are still searching for the woman who held up a northwest Oklahoma City bank Wednesday. The crime is now part of a growing trend.

Just a few years ago, a woman robbing banks was nearly unheard of, but FBI statistics show it's not a boys only club anymore and the women's motives are more "practical."

Earlier this week, a woman walked into an Oklahoma City BancFirst and handed the teller a note demanding money. The suspect kept her hands in her pockets, implying she had a gun, but nobody ever saw one. This is just one case of a crime more women are committing across the country.

"Nationally, the rate executed by female robbers is much higher than it is in Oklahoma, about twice as much," FBI spokesperson Gary Johnson said.

Nationwide, FBI statistics show 25% more women are committing robberies now compared to just a few years ago.

"I think we get excited about women who rob banks because we go back to the Bonnie and Clyde episode in the 30s," Psychologist Dr. Stewart Beasley said.

From the infamous Bonnie, to the high profile headliners over the years, teen Barbie bandits captured last year in Georgia, Northern Virginia's cell-phone-bandit caught in 2005 and the Starlett Bandit still on the loose in Los Angeles. In the Sooner state, all but one of five robberies in the last several years has been solved.

"They're less likely to use guns or threaten they have a gun, but when caught or checked out they don't have a weapon at all," Dr. Beasley said.

For men, the motive is adrenaline or to feed drug, gambling or alcohol addiction. For their female counterparts, the motives are similar but experts say either a significant other puts her up to it or they're committing the crimes for more practical reasons such as providing for the family.

"On a very rare occasion do you see an individual that is hard up to simply provide for the family and they choose to rob a bank. That's very rare," Johnson said.