A woman who went on a bank robbery spree in Pennsylvania and New Jersey last year with an accomplice – once in which they dressed as nuns – was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Swahilys Pedraza-Rodriguez, 20, of New Haven, Connecticut appeared in U.S. District Court in Newark Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
On Wednesday, her partner, Melisa Aquino Arias, 24, of Passaic, was sentenced to 37 months in prison in the same court.
They each pleaded guilty earlier this year to three federal crimes, bank robbery, attempted bank robbery, attempted conspiracy to steal from a bank.
Over three months in late 2017, authorities say and court papers show, the two women donned elaborate clothing disguises in four crimes/
They only managed to get $2,900 in one crime.
The duo first wore nuns’ habits at a Citizens Bank in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 28, 2017.
Federal authorities say Arias was the lookout as Pedraza-Rodriguez took out what appeared to be a gun and demanded money from a teller. But Arias signaled her partner that they should leave, and they did, without the cash.
On Sept. 20, 2017, they tried to pry open an ATM machine at a Keystone Bank in Scotrun, Pennsylvania. Arias drove – they both wore hijabs – and Pedraza-Rodriguez wielded the screwdriver, but she could not pry open the machine in the bank’s drive-through.
Seven days later, they robbed a Spencer Savings Bank branch in Garfield of the $2,900. They asked a bank employee about opening an account, and then Arias, wearing a blue hijab, pulled out what appeared to be a black handgun.
And on Oct. 15, 2017, the women struck at the NVE Bank in Teaneck. But by then, investigators had a lot of information on their routine, and saturated the media and police with information about their spree.
In Teaneck, Arias wore an orange hijab and Pedraza-Rodriguez a black head covering. They again approached an employee about opening an account, but the employee was on to them, and the women knew it.
They fled the bank without cash and employees called police and provided a good description, leading to two Leonia police officers arresting them at gunpoint on Route 80 West.
Both women will be under federal supervision when they are freed from prison, and have to pay $2,900 in restitution to Spencer Savings Bank.