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Bad Hair Bandit sentenced to 10 years prison for Auburn, 20 other heists

By: Journal Staff Report
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AUBURN CA - A U.S. District judge has sentenced a woman nicknamed by authorities “The Bad Hair Bandit” for a string of 21 interstate bank robberies to 10 years in prison. Cynthia Lynn Van Holland’s bank-robbery spree came to an end Aug. 15, 2011, after her arrest by Placer County Sheriff’s Office deputies as she attempted to escape west on Interstate 80. She had robbed Auburn’s Bank of the West branch of nearly $9,000 minutes earlier. Dubbed the “Bad Hair Bandit” by Seattle-based FBI investigators because of a series of ill-fitting wigs and caps she wore during initial holdups in the Pacific Northwest, Van Holland was held in Placer County Jail for more than a year until lodging a guilty plea in July. At her sentencing earlier this month in Sacramento, Van Holland – who’s described as a transient from Idaho and Washington – was ordered by Judge Kimberly Mueller to pay more than $33,000 in restitution to the banks she pleaded guilty of robbing. According to court documents, Van Holland committed robberies in four different states – California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The “Bad Hair” crime wave started Dec. 22, 2010, with a take of $2,072 from a US Bank branch in Tacoma, Wash. The restitution amount excluded $8,722 stolen from the Auburn branch, which was recovered when her car was searched after being stopped at Rocklin. Bad Hair Bandit holdups Here is the list of banks the FBI determined the Bad Hair Bandit had robbed: Dec. 22, 2010 US Bank, Tacoma, Wash. $2,072 Jan. 15, 2011 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, 2011 Bank of the West, Auburn $8,722 Total: $41,247 Source: FBI