ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) - Stephanie Lynn Schwab, 26, nicknamed the 'Blonde Bandit,' of Manassas, Va., admitted Thursday to carrying out three bank robberies and to stealing or carjacking three cars used in the robberies, in addition to participating in a separate heroin distributing ring operating out of Manassas.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ronald T. Hosko, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge T. S. Ellis III.
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On Thursday, Schwab pled guilty to one count of bank robbery, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; one count of transportation of a stolen vehicle, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; and one count of conspiring to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, which carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for July 6, 2012.
According to a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, from Nov. 18, 2011, through Nov. 30, 2011, Schwab robbed or attempted to rob three local banks of thousands of dollars, claiming to have a gun and threatening them with violence if they did not comply with her demands. For each robbery, Schwab either stole or took by force a car that she used to travel to and from the crime scene.
In addition, Schwab admitted her participation in a separate case involving a heroin trafficking ring that purchased large supplies of heroin from sources in New York and the Washington, D.C.-metro area and distributed the heroin to customers in Manassas from 2009 through 2011.
Schwab was apprehended by the Fairfax County Police Department following her attempted robbery of a bank on Nov. 30, 2011. After leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase on I-495 onto a local road in Montgomery County, Md., she turned the stolen vehicle into oncoming traffic and caused a three-vehicle crash. She tried to flee on foot but was caught and arrested by the pursuing officer.