The “Church Lady Bandit” has quickly become one of the most notorious bank robbers ever to hit Central Ohio. It was after a robbery at theFifth Third Bank downtown, that investigators say suspect Sylvete Gilbert was found in a nearby building after a dye pack exploded.
“After showing photographs to victims, witnesses, and bank tellers… this was the woman that had committed a series of robberies going back to ’06,” said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien.
The crime spree started in 2006 with one robbery at the Ohio Savings bank on East Dublin Granville Road.
Then in 2008, three more robberies occurred in three days all in and around the same area.
And last year, investigators say the suspected “Church Lady Bandit” went back to one location she robbed before and seven new places, including the Ohio State Credit Union and the Hampton Inn off Hamilton Road.
Investigators say it all ended at a Fifth Third branch in downtown Columbus.
NBC4 investigated Gilbert’s background and found she was no stranger to the court system. In 2009 she was convicted of theft and was sentenced to five years of probation. She was ordered to pay back $2,500 she embezzled. She also had issues with a home on Cedardale Drive that ended up in foreclosure in 2006. That’s the same year investigators say the “Church Lady Bandit” started robbing banks.
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