Tuesday, June 10, 2008

South Bay's Weathergirl Bandit might have robbed banks because of her mortgage

I don't know how I missed this one. Apparently a woman dubbed the "weathergirl bandit" has been robbing banks here in the South Bay. She was named the weathergirl bandit because she would always chat with the bank tellers about the weather before demanding money.

According to this Daily Breeze article, Felicia Ellen Jones pleaded guilty today.

The "Weathergirl Bandit" -- a 45-year-old Los Angeles woman who held up several South
Bay banks earlier this year -- pleaded guilty today to a pair of federal bank robbery 

Felicia Ellen Jones entered her plea before U.S. District Judge J. Spencer Letts, who 
is scheduled to sentence her on Sept. 17 in downtown Los Angeles.

Jones, who has been in custody since March 22, faces up to 40 years behind bars and 
fines totaling $500,000, though it is unlikely that she will receive a sentence that 

Jones pleaded guilty to heists committed Feb. 29 and March 19 at U.S. Bank branches 
in Manhattan Beach. Prosecutors allege she also held up a Union Bank branch in 
Hermosa Beach on March 5, and a Citizens Business Bank branch in Manhattan Beach on 
March 11, making off with more than $10,300 from all four holdups.

Jones' attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender Michael Schafler, was not immediately 
available for comment.

The FBI and Manhattan Beach police arrested Jones after receiving tips from anonymous 
callers who said they recognized Jones in bank surveillance images shown on 

Agents and detectives successfully negotiated the surrender of Jones, who agreed to 
meet authorities at a designated location in Los Angeles, accompanied by her 
attorney, according to the FBI.

Jones was dubbed the "Weathergirl Bandit" because she was friendly and would chat 
with tellers and ask them about the weather before robbing the banks, the FBI 

My first thought was that she was struggling under a mortgage payment, though the article did not provide any evidence of that. My second thought was that we were darn lucky this time, because she did not kill anybody.

I poked around a little bit and found this March 23 story off of the Inside SoCal blog. Although I found other articles in which the defendant said she needed money for a drug habit and to pay bills, a comment here in this article caught my attention:

 GG said:

I know Felicia Ellen Jones, She is a wonderful person. She has three wonderful kids. 
She got caught up in this world. This is sad news to her friends and family. I will 
pray for her. Sometime people are push to do certin things. I know she was having 
trouble with her house payment, and life in general. Keep the Faith Felicia
Things will get better, I know it is dark but the light will come.

Perhaps it's time to revisit Fun with Dick and Jane. The Christmas 2005 comedy starred Jim Carrey and Tia Leone. It was about a married couple who, upon seeing the husband left holding the bag after his firm collapses in an Enron-style implosion, exacts revenge by stealing - first in robberies at local businesses, then eventually targeting Dick's company bosses.

The original 1977 comedy starred George Segal and Jane Fonda. Dick ended up unemployed and the couple ended up committing armed robberies in order to make ends meet.

In early 1977, Fun with Dick and Jane was funny. But the dollar crisis hitting in 1979 (about 2 years later) was not. We know it to be true that Congress is irresponsible with money, but the fact was that things got so bad that Congress was probably worried about getting paid, like most of us working folk, and finally got religion and Volcker ended up tightening the reins.

Fast forward to the 2000's, when Fun with Dick and Jane is updated in late 2005 but again showing a couple in financial crisis. It is now more than 2 years later after this movie was released and we find it Not Funny that we are standing on the edge of a dollar precipice again, with commodity prices having shot up sharply and a Federal Reserve out of control.

I am simply making a socionomic observation that a story about a family in financial crisis that is meant to be funny shows up in the popular culture via the movies, shortly before real economic disaster threatens us. That tells me that in terms of our fiscal and economic wellbeing, we weren't taking things very seriously back in 1977 (and 2005).


Blogger Simon said...

Awesome tie in. What a great story! Now was she late on her mortgage because of drugs??? Or was it because she legitimately got faked out by a disingenuos Mortgage broker?

I talk about Santa Monica Real Estate on my blog at my web-site: Santa Monica Real Estate

4:24 PM, June 15, 2008  

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