Detectives grab a 'Granny Bandit'
Published 12/05/2011 | 04:29
A crime analyst who put together a poster for the "Granny Bandit", wanted for a series of armed robberies outside department stores, helped police arrest the woman after she spotted the suspect during her lunch break.
Dodi Wasbotten, 51, was taken into custody hours after a woman with a child reported being held up outside a Target store by a woman who was wearing a muu-muu - a loose brightly-coloured dress worn by women in Hawaii - and covered her face with a scarf.
After grabbing the victim's purse, she fled in a dark saloon car with missing front hubcaps.
A woman matching the suspect's description was involved in three other hold-ups in California's San Bernardino County city of Fontana since Sunday.
Women shoppers described being robbed in store car parks by a gun-toting, middle-aged or elderly woman who covered her face. They described her as being between 50 and 80 years old.
Sgt Billy Green said he was not sure why some of the victims thought the suspect was that old, leading police to dub her the "Granny Bandit". "I can only speculate that it had to do with the way she was dressed in a muu-muu. She had a scarf and big sunglasses covering her face. She had a weathered face," he said.
Sgt Green said Wasbotten, a grandmother of one, had a history of drug and alcohol use and had been arrested by police before.
Crime analyst Carynn Terrell was not available to comment on how she was able to spot Wasbotten's car.
Police chief Rod Jones said Wasbotten's car matched the vehicle description and that items belonging to one of the victims were found inside. Detectives said they also found an unloaded handgun.
Wasbotten denied taking the items, Sgt Green said.