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Woman charged with dressing as nun to rob Palos Heights bank

Surveillance video shows robber dressed as nun TCF bank Palos Heights.

Surveillance video shows a robber dressed as a nun at a TCF bank in Palos Heights.

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Updated: July 1, 2011 4:58AM

A Chicago woman was arrested Thursday after allegedly robbing a bank of $120,000 — all while dressed as a nun.

Navahcia Edwards, 23, is charged with helping rob a Palos Heights TCF Bank she used to work for on May 29. Edwards, accompanied by her longtime boyfriend, was allegedly wearing a black nun habit and a mask “bearing the likeness of an exaggerated version of an elderly woman’s face,” according to a federal criminal complaint. Both robbers in the surveillance video appeared to be carrying guns.

Nun habits and masks similar to the ones used in the robbery were allegedly purchased by a person using Edwards’ address, name, email and phone number. Two “Adult Funny Nun” costumes and two “Nun on the Run” adult masks were purchased before the robbery on a prepaid Visa card Edwards allegedly purchased with cash at a currency exchange in Markham, authorities said.

At a court hearing Wednesday, Edwards read through the complaint while sitting next to her lawyer, at times narrowing her eyes, shaking her head or giving sighs of frustration. She was arrested wearing a pair of fitted jeans and a lace and cotton top.

Edwards even had her mouth swabbed for DNA in the courtroom by a law enforcement officer after the judge had left the room, all while she read the complaint breaking down the evidence against her.

Edwards worked at the targeted TCF bank between July 2010 and November 2010, and would, according to the complaint, have known how to work the anti-theft devices in the bank vaults. The female robber at the TCF seemed to avoid the anti-theft devices and didn’t ask a teller to open the vault containing only coins.

Her boyfriend allegedly cased the bank the day of the robbery, and is seen on surveillance video raising his leg to the height of the counter — perhaps to make sure he could jump over it. He asked tellers questions like, “just the two of you working today?” according to the complaint.

A rental car that looked similar to one rented by Edwards was seen at the scene of the crime. Edwards also worked at a Chase Bank between December and May 2011, which at two separate times during her employment reported shortages of cash, according to the complaint. One of those shortages Edwards allegedly admitted to, saying she stole $19,502 and tried to hide it by replacing $100 bills with $1 bills. She said she would pay the money back and did return some of it, according the complaint; in early May, she was fired.

A U.S. District judge set a date for a hearing next week in the case. The U.S. government is hoping to keep Edwards locked up because she is seen as a flight risk and “a danger to the community.”

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