Bank teller who wore nun’s disguise, robbed workplace, sentenced to 7 years
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter email@example.com June 13, 2013 5:42PM
A surveillance photo of the 2011 bank robbery in Palos Heights. | Courtesy FBI
Updated: July 16, 2013 6:13AM
A bank teller who disguised herself as a nun, then stuck up her own workplace in a heist inspired by the Ben Affleck movie “The Town” was on Thursday sentenced to seven and a half years behind bars.
So-called “nun on the run” robber Navahcia Edwards, 26, had faced a significantly longer prison term for the May 2011 armed robbery, but Judge Matthew Kennelly showed mercy after Edwards broke down in tears and said she’d been sexually abused as a foster child.
“If even one-third of what she says is true, it’s horrendous,” the judge said of Edwards’ childhood. But he added that she’d committed a “horrible crime” when she and her then fiance, Lyndon Germel Wesley, donned nuns’ habits and masks and held loaded guns to the heads of her co-workers at a TCF Bank in South suburban Palos Heights.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have felt like for those tellers,” he said. “The fact [Edwards and Wesley] were in costumes adds to the amount of terror those tellers felt.”
Edwards, who committed the robbery to pay back money she’d stolen from another bank she also worked at, apologized and said she was “not a bad person — I just made bad decisions in my life.”
Referring to the day she was abandoned by her mother and taken into foster care, she sobbed, “I’m still that lost 5-year-old child my mom left behind.”
Though she admits she helped plot the heist, she still denies she was one of the two disguised robbers caught on video carrying it out, her lawyer Charles Aron said.
He added that Edwards was a “straight-A student” who had been humiliated by revelations published on Internet news websites about her sideline in X-rated movies following her arrest.
Kennelly convicted Edwards at a bench trial in February. He said at the time that he had tried on Edwards’ nun costume in his chambers before rejecting her claim that the real robber may have been a white man, not a black woman like herself.