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Pair dressed as nuns in bank robberies plead guilty

June 26, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Pair dressed as nuns in bank robberies plead guilty

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Two women who carried out bank robberies while sporting religious garb will soon be on their way to prison.

One of the suspects, identified as 23-year-old Melisa Aquino Arias, of Passaic, New Jersey, entered a guilty plea last week to after she robbed a bank in Garfield, N.J., last year while wearing a head cover that looked like the garb of a nun.

According to a Justice Department press release, the woman also pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal money from an ATM in Scotrun, in Pennsylvania’s Poconos area around the same time.

She is facing up to 41 years behind bars when she is sentenced in September.

Melisa Aquino Arias (L), of the Dominican Republic and Swahilys Pedraza-Rodriguez(R), of New Haven, Conn.

Arias and her co-conspirator, 19-year-old Swahilys Pedraza-Rodriquez, of New Haven, Connecticut, stole $2,900 while robbing the Garfield bank at gunpoint.

Arias’ two pleas occurred just weeks after Pedraza-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the same charges. She is set to be sentenced in August.

The two first appeared in nun’s clothes for an attempted robbery in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, last August.

NJ.com reported that the two suspects also used hijabs during some burglaries.

Last October, roughly two weeks after the Garfield robbery, Arias donned an orange hijab and Pedraza-Rodriguez a black head cover when they went a bank in Teaneck, N.J., to ask about opening an account.

This time, the bank’s manager noticed them and called authorities. The two women were then taken into custody at gunpoint after they attempted to flee the bank.

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