A 24-year-old Indian-origin nurse, dubbed by FBI as “The Bombshell Bandit”, has been sentenced to 66 months in prison and fined tens of thousands of dollars for robbing banks in the US state of Arizona.
Sandeep Kaur, a professional California nurse, admitted that she is the woman the FBI dubbed “The Bombshell Bandit” after robberies last year in which a well-dressed woman approached bank tellers and threatened to detonate a bomb if they did not hand over cash from their registers.
Kaur, who escaped longer prison terms, derives her nickname of “Bombshell Bandit” from the bomb threats she made during the robberies, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Kaur escaped with USD 21,200 from her first robbery at a Bank of the West branch in Valencia, California, on June 6 last year, the most success she had at any of the four robberies she pleaded guilty to.
In subsequent robberies, she grabbed USD 1,978 and USD 8,000 at banks in Lake Havasu City in Arizona, and San Diego, respectively, before her strike on a St George bank which led to her capture in July, eight weeks after her crime spree began.
Kaur faced up to 20 years in federal prison on each of the four charges against her, as well as fines of USD 250,000 and three years of supervised post-prison release for each charge. Presenting investigators established a recommended range of 78 to 97 months.
Defense attorney Jay Winward asked the court for an even lighter sentence of four years in prison, citing the challenges of Kaur’s upbringing.
“She is educated, she has great worth to society … and she does want to make amends,” Winward said.
District Judge Ted Stewart shed some light on the closed discussions when he noted that Kaur had gone into debt with “a loan shark” and robbed banks to repay him.
“She amassed a large gambling debt and, in order to repay a loan shark, she robbed the banks,” Stewart said.
Winward said Kaur was sent to India, but later returned to the United States. Stewart noted that Kaur graduated from high school at the age of 15 and nursing school at 19 and had no prior criminal history before the robberies.