Woman arrested after spree of bank robberies

Sheriff's Office nabs East Palo Alto resident who they believe robbed nine banks

An East Palo Alto woman who police say took part in at least nine bank robberies over the summer, including one in Palo Alto earlier this month, was arrested on Aug. 3 after investigators traced a finger print from a bank pamphlet back to her.

The Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff announced Monday that Mary Mapa, 27, was arrested at her home on Aug. 3, one day after she allegedly robbed the Star One Credit Union on El Camino Real in south Palo Alto. During that incident, police said she waited in line, passed a note to the teller and then made off on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Mary Mapa
According to the Sheriff's Office, the Palo Alto robbery was just the latest incident for Mapa in a spree that began on June 3, when she reportedly robbed the HSBC Bank in Cupertino, an incident in which she allegedly demanded money and brandished a firearm. She has been identified in bank robberies in Livermore, Morgan Hill, Walnut Creek, Napa, Manteca, Sunnyvale and San Mateo.

The breakthrough apparently came after the Sunnyvale robbery, when a crime investigator obtained a finger print from a bank pamphlet that Mapa allegedly handled during that incident. Investigators used the finger print to identify her and issued a warrant for her arrest, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office conducted surveillance on Mapa and searched her East Palo Alto home, where they found clothing used during different robberies, a wig, cash from one of the robbed banks and a handgun. She was arrested and booked in the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

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