A rash of bank robberies, two of which occurred on the same day last month, has been solved with the arrest of a Buffalo nurse's assistant and mother of three, the FBI said Friday.
Marlo McGee, 30, of Riley Street, was charged with eight federal bank robbery charges Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio.
He scheduled a detention hearing for Monday in U.S. District Court, at which time McGee is expected to receive a court-appointed attorney and enter a plea to the charges. She is being held by U.S. marshals.
FBI spokesman Paul Moskal said McGee robbed eight banks in and around Buffalo beginning in July. Two banks were robbed on the same day, Aug. 10, and two more occurred on consecutive days, Sept. 9 and 10. A woman entered the banks and pressed a note demanding money to tellers, he said.
"These were well-planned events and she escalated from threatening the use of violence to displaying a weapon to pulling a weapon and brandishing it," Moskal said, adding that no shots were fired in any of the robberies.
Showing a weapon in a bank robbery can add another five years to the maximum sentence for the crime, which is 20 years in prison, the FBI's Maureen P. Dempsey said.
Moskal said the FBI was able to make the arrest thanks to "a good citizen who came forward with some information." He did not elaborate.
Moskal added that McGee doesn't fit the profile of most bank robbers, 50 percent of whom nationally are white males.
McGee is a black woman. She has two sons in the 10- to 13-year-old range and a daughter who was born last March, according to a friend on Riley Street, Pamela Donaldson. The arrest surprised Donaldson, who said she got to know McGee when they both worked at the same place as certified nurses' assistants.
"Marlo isn't some dumb stupid woman," she said. "There was no sense that she was troubled. She snapped maybe."
McGee and her two sons lived with Donaldson and her children from November 1997 until the end of January 1998. She moved out after the residence was burglarized, Donaldson said.
Donaldson said McGee was dealing with the death of both her parents about three months apart last year but "I didn't think it would lead to something like this."
Moskal said 50 percent of all bank robberies nationally are drug-related, and the percentage is even higher in local bank robberies.
"Generally speaking, these are not clear-thinking people," he said. "The vast majority of them are apprehended."
The FBI provided the following lists of the banks that were robbed, and the dates:
Fleet Bank in Depew on July 16; Fleet Bank in Niagara Falls on July 26; M&T Bank in Orchard Park on Aug. 5; HSBC Bank in Williamsville on Aug. 10; Fleet Bank in Cheektowaga on Aug. 10; Key Bank in West Seneca on Sept. 9; Key Bank in Clarence on Sept. 10 and Fleet Bank in Tonawanda on Sept. 20.