Gun-wielding woman with pink-bandana mask suspected in 2 Aurora bank robberies, FBI says

Expert: Armed robberies by women 'very rare'

AURORA, Colo. - The same gun-wielding woman is suspected of robbing two Aurora banks this month, Aurora Police and the FBI said Friday.

The first robbery occurred at 4:17 p.m. on April 4 at the Colorado State Bank & Trust, 15490 E. Hampden Ave., the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force said.

The second robbery occurred at 1:27 p.m. Thursday at the Academy Bank, located at 9600 E. Hampden Ave.

The suspect is described as a black woman in her 30s, who's about 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall with a heavy build. Aurora  Police said she has freckles or a mole on the left and right side of her face.

In both robberies, the woman entered the banks wearing a black jacket with the hood up over her head and a pink scarf or bandana covering her face. She displayed a revolver to the teller, demanded money and fled with the cash, the FBI said.

In a new detail, investigators believe the woman left the Academy Bank Thursday in a four-door blue Volkswagen Passat sedan, with a Colorado "Respect Life" license plate with the partial number "168."

The FBI released a surveillance photo of the Passat on Friday along with photos of the woman during the April 4 bank robbery.

This is the third bank robbery by a female suspect in metro Denver this month. On April 10, a young white woman robbed a Chase Bank at 5990 S. University Blvd. in Greenwood Village.

"It's not unusual for a woman to be involved with something like fraud or forgery. But to pick up a gun and go into a bank, very rare," Dr. Allison Cotton, a criminologist at Metropolitan State University of Denver, told 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart.

"I think desperation levels are climbing," Cotton said, "and I think that there are more and more women who are exasperated by their circumstances -- often times at the end of their rope."

There have been 33 bank robberies in Colorado this year as of April 14 -- down 25 percent from the same time period last year, according to the FBI.

In 2013, Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for bank robberies per capita. That's an improvement over 2011, when Colorado ranked first in the national for bank robberies and 2012, when it ranked second.

Anyone who has any information on these bank robberies, or any bank robbery, is asked to call the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force at 303-629-7171; or you can remain anonymous and earn a reward of up to $2,000 by calling Metro Denver Crime Stoppers 720-913-7867. The tip line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also text 274637 and title your text DMCS, then enter your message. 

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