'Grandma Bandit' wanted in robberies

HOUSTON She was caught on surveillance cameras. The FBI says, with the sour economy, people are doing anything they can to get money.

When FBI agents started poring over photos of Houston's latest bank robbery suspect, they admit they were a little bit puzzled. Surveillance photos from a bank robbery Friday have authorities on the hunt for a suspect they don't usually see.

"It's unusual because she's an older woman. Witnesses describe her as 55 to 65 years old which is something we certainly don't see every day. And then it also didn't appear that she was attempting to disguise herself in any way," said Shauna Dunlap of the FBI.

The "grandma bandit," as they are calling her, is ambitious. Wearing a camouflage ball cap, purple shirt complete with purple feathers, she hit the BBVA Compass Bank at West 43 St. at 12:40pm Friday afternoon. One hour later, she reappeared at the Compass Bank at West 19 St. in The Heights. Both times she threatened to fire a weapon and demanded cash.

The fact that this outlaw is older, the FBI says, could point to a bigger problem.

"We are seeing anywhere on any given day about 15 to 20 robberies higher than we saw in the same time period last year. We're also seeing a little bit of an increase in the aggressiveness and the violence that is happening during these robberies," said Dunlap.

While the FBI says it's tough to speculate on a motive for the gray grandma, Dr. Richard Pesikoff, a Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, says tough economic times like a recession certainly don't help.

"People do some pretty horrendous things when they're under stress that they normally wouldn't do. So certainly economic recessions lead to higher incidences of violence and robberies," said Dr. Pesikoff.

The FBI says while it might be cute to have the name grandma bandit, they remind everyone that robbing a bank is a felony.

Authorities also say that the woman was seen getting away in a white SUV. Anyone with information in this case is asked to call police or the FBI. There is a $5,000 reward.

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