Bonnie Without Clyde: Female Bank Robbers Are on the Rise, Rarely Use a Gun

Police say more women are robbing banks, and are doing so without using a weapon — unlike their male counterparts.

Bank robberies pulled off by women have increased slightly since 2002 and account for 6 percent of all robberies, according to FBI statistics.

"You are more likely now to have a Bonnie without a Clyde," South Dakota forensic sociologist Rosemary J. Erickson, who has interviewed hundreds of bank robbers, told Newsday.

During many bank robberies performed by women, a gun or other weapon is rarely, if ever, shown, the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper reported.

"Females are really big into notes," Tod Burke, a professor of criminal justice at Radford University in Virginia, told Newsday. "They'll flip the note to a teller."

Female bank robbers, on average, used to account for one or two cases a year on Long Island — until recently when three female robbers hit five times in four months, Newsday reported.

Police and suspects said the reason many women are driven to hold up banks is the same as for men: addiction. Jessica D. McNeil, who faces bank robbery charges in Long Island, N.Y., but is out on bail, said that's what led her to steal.

"It was basically just the drugs," McNeil, 21, explained to Newsday when a reporter recently knocked on her door.

McNeil was charged with robbing a Long Island bank on Sept. 23 and with the attempted robbery of a second bank there on Sept. 25, Newsday reported.

On Sept. 23, she placed a note on the teller's counter that read, "I have a gun. I will shoot you. Give me all your money. Put in bag," according to a witness statement.

The teller gave McNeil the cash, which she stuffed into the pockets of her sweatshirt before running away.

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