Here's Why More Women Are Robbing Banks

These days robbers pass notes to tellers and often don't even brandish weapons
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2016 3:09 PM CDT
This booking photo provided by the Weld County, Colo., Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 shows Rachel Einspahr. Investigators say that Einspahr, who was baby sitting two children at the time,...   (Weld County, Colo., Sheriff's Department via AP)

(Newser) – "You have 30 secs to empty all draws no pack/no dye. Give me all of it." The note was handed to a teller at a Capital Bank location in Lighthouse Point, Fla., in September 2015. The somewhat unusual part was who wrote it: a woman. More and more women are robbing banks for quick cash, South Florida Sun Sentinel in a look at the trend, and it's completely devoid of the glam of yesteryear. Gone are the days where a battalion of masked gunmen swooped down on a branch and escaped into a getaway vehicle. Now robbers can enter a branch looking like a customer, pass a threatening note to a teller, and walk away with cash, no weapon needed. The heist is simply less dangerous than it used to be, Penn State criminologist Darrell Steffensmeier tells the paper.

In fact, FBI records show women across the US in 2015 committed 7.5% of all bank robberies, still comprising a small minority but also up a dramatic 25% from their 6% share in 2005. "I think [the trend] will continue increasing ... because of the nonviolent nature of the note-passing robbery," forensic sociologist Rosemary Erickson says. The payout tends to be small—the women committing most of the robberies the Sentinel describes are walking out with less than $5,000, and they're often using the money to pay the bills. "They are more likely to be robbing for personal financial needs," Erickson says. "Being homeless, or single and alone, especially if they have children ... they are literally robbing for Pampers." (This babysitter was on the job when she allegedly robbed a bank.)

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