Released: August 26, 2013 - Monday, 05:14 PM

Multiple Bank Robberies

Contact: Tony CipollaPhone: (805) 781 4547Date and time of incident: Various Dates & Times beginning 12/31/12 and ending 8-23-13Place of Occurrence: Various Locations on the Central CoastVictim Information: N/ASuspect Information: Cristina Fernandez Padilla, 50, WatsonvilleA woman identified as Cristina Fernandez Padilla, 50, of Watsonville, CA, has been arrested for a series of bank robberies along the Central Coast and in Modesto. Dubbed the “Central Coast Bandit,” Padilla is believed to be involved in 6 robberies and 1 attempted robbery.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office announces the conclusion of a multi-agency coordinated effort to capture the “Central Coast Bandit” which culminated Friday, August 23, 2013 following a series of events which began in the city of San Luis Obispo.
Just before 5:00 PM, a woman matching the description of the “Central Coast Bandit” entered the Golden 1 Credit Union at 852 E. Foothill. Prior to robbing the bank, the woman was recognized and walked out to a parked vehicle. As she left, the vehicle description and license plate was provided to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, who located the vehicle driving in their city. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle it fled and they pursued it Northbound Highway 101 to the top of the Cuesta Grade. The suspect vehicle was later spotted on Highway 101, still Northbound, by the Atascadero Police Department, who initiated a second pursuit. This pursuit continued through their city, at times leaving Highway 101 and entering surface streets and parking lots. As the vehicle continued Northbound, the California Highway Patrol took over the pursuit, which ended in a collision near 35th and Pine Streets in Paso Robles, after reaching high speeds on surface streets there, including one intentional ramming of a civilian vehicle at an intersection near 24th and Riverside. A woman matching the description of the “Central Coast Bandit” was taken into custody. She was identified as Cristina Fernandez Padilla, 50, out of Watsonville, CA.
Padilla was taken to the Paso Robles Police Department. Following interviews, she was arrested for the robberies committed in Atascadero, Nipomo, Paso Robles and Pismo Beach. She was also arrested for felony evading and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm for the pursuit and intentional ramming of a vehicle in the City of Paso Robles. She was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail without incident, with bail set at $290,000.
Search warrants were prepared and served on Padilla’s residence and vehicle in Watsonville, CA, and the vehicle she was driving at the time of her arrest. Additional investigation and follow up interviews are continuing, as well as a review of the entire case for determination of State or Federal prosecution.
The multi-agency investigation into the series of bank robberies began in February of this year and involved the Pacific Grove Police Department, Atascadero Police Department, FBI, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, Paso Robles Police Department, Modesto Police Department, Pismo Beach Police Department and the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

The Central Coast Bandit has been linked to the following bank robberies:
12/31/12 - Monterey CU - 161 Fountain St, Pacific Grove - Monterey County
2/14/13 - Pacific Western - 7035 El Camino Real, Atascadero - SLO County
2/14/13 – Chase - 8055 El Camino Real, Atascadero - SLO County (Casing Only)
6/27/13 - Coast Hills FCU - 532 W. Tefft St, Nipomo - SLO County
7/16/13 - Golden One FCU - 128 Niblick St, Paso Robles - SLO County
7/18/13 - Farmers Merchants - 1700 McHenry Ave., Modesto - Stanislaus County
8/14/13 - Pacific Western Bank - 831 Oak Park Blvd., Pismo Beach - SLO County
8/23/13 - Golden One FCU - 852 E. Foothill Blvd., San Luis Obispo - SLO County (Attempted)

No additional information is being released at this time. Additional releases will be made as information becomes available.