Women dressed as nuns accused of robbing 3 banks

Posted: Updated:
GARFIELD -

Two young women are accused of robbing several banks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over the last few months.

Nineteen-year-old Swahilys Pedraza-Rodriguez, of New Haven, Connecticut, and 23-year-old Melisa Aquino Arias, of Passaic, appeared in Newark federal court Monday to face the charges.

The women gained attention for allegedly attempting to rob a bank in Pennsylvania while dressed as nuns. Police say the women did not get away with any money in that robbery because an alarm was triggered.

The FBI says the two women next robbed the Spencer Savings bank in Garfield and stole $2,900. A federal complaint says Arias was dressed in a head scarf during the robbery. She also allegedly told the bank teller, “Give me all your money. No funny money. Don't press anything. Give all the money in the drawer."

The women were arrested this past Sunday while allegedly trying to rob a NVE Bank in Teaneck. Police say an alert bank employee recognized the women as the suspects in the Garfield robbery and called police.

Police say the employee actually ran after the women and got a description of their getaway car to give to police. The women were pulled over a short time later.

The women could face up to 20 years in prison if they are convicted of the charges.

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