Top 5 Notorious Female Bank Robbers

For some reason, being fascinated with bank robbers is almost as American as apple pie. Hollywood loves them, for sure. Who can forget the opening scene of “The Dark Knight,” the 2008 Batman movie that began with an extraordinary bank heist? Bank robberies are exciting, scary and just so wrong. Yet, you have to be clever and cunning to rob a bank successfully. And what could be more interesting than a female bank robber? What sort of woman would carry out such a macho endeavor?

5 Starlet Bandit

When you rob Hollywood banks, you naturally must wear movie-star sunglasses, don’t you, darling? That’s what led to this female bank robber’s glam moniker, the Starlet Bandit. Only, simply wearing large sunglasses isn’t all it takes to give you a starlet look. Authorities later described this criminal–who held up at least 10 banks in the Los Angeles area in two weeks in 2010–as being frumpy and dumpy, definitely not starlet stock. This case remains unsolved.

4 Candice R. Martinez

You know how you sometimes hear half of a couple calling the other at the grocery store for some direction on which jar of marinara sauce to buy? Well, 19-year old Candice R. Martinez, a former bank employee, used that same method to ask her boyfriend the best way to rob and escape from banks while she was committing the acts. She would talk on her cell phone with her boyfriend, who was parked outside the bank. He would let her know when the coast was clear. The couple went on shopping sprees after robbing four banks in Northern Virginia in 2005, blowing their ill-gotten cash on a computer and printer, a digital camera, three Louis Vuitton purses and, what else, another cell phone.

3 Barbie Bandits

What sort of nice tennis-playing Southern girl from a churchgoing family considers robbing a bank? One who has a secret stripping job at night and who likes expensive goods, that’s who. Nice-girl-turned-bad Heather Johnston picked fellow stripper Ashley Miller to play Midge (the Barbie doll’s first friend) to her Barbie. This bank-robbing pair received the name Barbie bandits because of their resemblance to the iconic toy. But this duo had only as much brains as a Barbie doll. They were supposed to go to a certain bank in Acworth, Georgia, where a dishonest teller would happily hand over the cash, but they went to the wrong branch. D’oh. They finally arrived at the right branch only to be filmed by surveillance cameras. The video of this escapade was splashed all over the news, but no true Barbie can resist the mall and hair salon. They went and were recognized by the news-watching public, who called the police. It was an easy arrest.

2 Patty Hearst

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Patty Hearst, granddaughter of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, was a 19-year-old heiress in 1974 when a terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, kidnapped her to draw attention to their anti-capitalist views. The group brainwashed Hearst to make her the poster child for the revolution they planned to wage against the U.S. government. One way to show her allegiance to the SLA’s cause was to help them rob a bank, which it appeared that Hearst willingly did with fervor. Though Hearst only took part in the bank robbery because she was brainwashed, a jury sentenced her to seven years in jail. President Jimmy Carter pardoned her after two years. And the SLA? All killed or arrested.

1 Bonnie Parker

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The Bonnie half of Bonnie and Clyde is probably the first female bank robber who comes to mind for most people. She teamed with Clyde Barrow in the 1930s. First she helped Clyde get out of jail by smuggling a gun into his cell. When he escaped, they went on an almost two-year spree robbing banks and small businesses. Bonnie and her partner in crime killed 13 people before they were gunned down at a Louisiana roadblock. Bonnie died holding her machine gun, a pack of smokes and a sandwich.

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