FBI's "Bad Hair Bandit" serial bank robbery suspect in Auburn court

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - A woman who the FBI believes is the ?Bad Hair Bandit? suspected of robbing 21 banks in four states made a brief appearance Thursday in Placer County court. Cynthia Van Holland, 48, has been held in Placer County Jail since last Aug. 15 after she was arrested in Rocklin on a robbery charge connected with a holdup earlier in the day at Lincoln Way?s Bank of the West, at the Interstate 80 Foresthill exit. Appearing before Judge John Cosgrove on Thursday at the jail court in North Auburn, Van Holland was silent as defense attorney Diane Yapundich requested and was granted a continuance in the case to a new court date of Aug. 2. No trial is scheduled. Yapundich said the continuance was needed because U.S. Justice Department prosecutors were still working out their own case logistics. While Van Holland remains in Placer County Jail on the single Bank of the West robbery charge, she?s facing charges from Washington, Oregon and Montana related to bank robberies in those states taking place between December 2010 and August 2011. After her arrest, FBI investigators filed an affidavit claiming that Van Holland confessed to a nine-month hold-up spree. The list of banks included a foray into the Auburn area in June and August, when Van Holland allegedly robbed financial institutions in Davis and Sacramento, as well as Auburn. The ?bad hair? label described her use of ill-fitting wigs during many of the robberies. Dressed in red jail garb Thursday, Van Holland?s hair was noticeably whiter and less neatly styled than in the jail booking photo taken last August after her arrest. Van Holland and her husband, 26-year-old Christopher Alonzo, both of Idaho, were stopped and arrested 12 miles west of the Auburn bank as they drove along Interstate 80 at Rocklin. A homeless family parked in Auburn?s Raley?s shopping center had watched the two flee from behind the bank and alerted law enforcement. Authorities said about $8,000 in loot was found in a Victoria?s Secret bag in the passenger compartment of the Van Holland vehicle. The story of the arrest of a woman ?bad hair? bank robber drew national and international media attention. Van Holland has pleaded ?not guilty? to the Auburn robbery while she has yet to be arraigned on the other charges. In the meantime, she is being held on federal ?no bail? hold in Placer County. Bad Hair Bandit holdups Here is the list of banks the FBI suspects the Bad Hair Bandit has robbed: Dec. 22 US Bank, Tacoma, Wash. $2,072 Jan. 15 Key Bank, Tumwater, Wash. $1,285 Jan. 12 Key Bank, Tacoma, Wash. $1,214 Jan. 14 Wells Fargo Bank, Spanaway, Wash. $1,050 Jan. 26 Cathay Bank, Kent, Wash. No money taken Jan. 27 First Security Bank, Redmond, Wash. $441 Feb. 10 US Bank, Auburn, Wash. $995 Feb. 19 Wells Fargo Bank, University Place, Wash. $332 March 25 Sound Community Bank, Tacoma, Wash. $1,960 April 9 Wells Fargo Bank, University Place, Wash. $440 April 21 Cathay Bank, Bellevue, Wash. $2,330 April 26 Wheatland Bank, Ellensburg, Wash. $714 April 27 Key Bank, Moses Lake, Wash. $2,398 May 9 Chase Bank, Spokane, Wash. $1,920 June 7 Sterling Bank, Moses Lake, Wash. $6,384 June 28 East West Bank, Sacramento $671 June 28 US Bank, Davis $1,967 July 1 Key Bank, Lake Oswego, Ore. $1,600 July 18 Yakima Federal, Richland, Wash. $3,152 Aug. 11 Bank of Butte, Butte, Mont. $1,600 Aug. 15 Bank of the West, Auburn $8,722 Total: $41,247 Source: FBI