How Bandits Get Their Names
(LOS ANGELES) — Grainy portraits of unknown criminals with names like “Bucket List Bandit,” the “Chubby Bandit,” and the “Trick or Treat Bandit,” have lit up television screens and wanted posters for years, and the responsibility of christening most of them sits on the shoulders of one southern California man.
Situated in what’s known as the bank robbery capital of the world, Special Agent Steve May of the Los Angeles FBI office isn’t bragging about his unique responsibility.
“It gets old,” he said. “Trust me.”
They’re named for the way they look, like the “Dapper Bandit” or the “Cyclops Bandit,” but they can also get their names from eyewitness accounts, like the “Irreconcilable Differences Bandit,” who told witnesses he was going through a divorce during the robberies.
“One of the first things he said was the name. He hated it,” May said. “It was horrible, so he was kind of disappointed.”
ABC News’ David Wright spoke to May while the “Plain Jane” Bandit was still at large. Jane’s real name was allegedly Sylvia Helen Garcia, 38, and she charged with eight bank heists or robbery attempts over the summer and was arrested in her Downey, Calif. home in August.
May chose the name because it is uncommon to rob a bank without a disguise.
And the names often play a key role in catching the bad guys.
“People will say, ‘Oh that’s a funny name, why would you call a bank robber that,'” former FBI agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett said. “And suddenly someone says, ‘Hey, that’s my neighbor.'”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio