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UPDATED: “Bad Hair Bandit” suspect had been a nurse in Bethel School District

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:07 am with 10 Comments »
August 19, 2011 1:21 pm

The woman identified as the “Bad Hair Bandit” – and suspected of robbing banks in four states – worked as a contract nurse in the Bethel School District during the start of her crime spree.

Cynthia Van Holland, 47, was a nurse with the district from September 2010 to March 2011 and floated around to different schools, district spokeswoman Krista Carlson said today.

Officials have said the “Bad Hair Bandit,” who earned the moniker by wearing a variety of wigs during the bank robberies, was responsible for seven bank heists or attempted heists in Pierce County, starting with a Dec. 22 robbery in Tacoma. The last robbery in Pierce County took place April 9.

Van Holland, a licensed nurse practitioner, was employed by Soliant Health, a healthcare staffing company based in Georgia. The Bethel School District subcontracts with Soliant for  nursing services, Carlson said.

Soliant would have fingerprinted and run a background check on Van Holland. The district also checked her references before she started work.

“She had no priors and no red flags,” Carlson said.

Van Holland worked primarily at Camas Prairie Elementary. As a licensed nurse practitioner, she worked directly with students who had health problems, Carlson said. Carlson said she didn’t know of any complaints against Van Holland.

Carlson said there was no indication of why Van Holland stopped working in the Bethel School District in March.

Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said there were no tips to Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers naming Van Holland as the “Bad Hair Bandit.”

“We got a ton of tips on that with a lot of different names but not that one,” Troyer said.

Van Holland and her husband were arrested Monday in California shortly after a bank heist. He’s suspected of being her getaway driver.

The “Bad Hair Bandit” is suspected of robbing 20 banks in Washington, Oregon, Montana and California.

Van Holland also worked as a contract nurse at an Idaho state prison, where she met her husband. He was serving time for forgery convictions.

When the two married in March in Idaho, Van Holland listed Tacoma as where she was living.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. tonnibell says:

    Of course she had no priors, she hadnt been caught yet……Hello!! Who would have known, whoever did the fingerprinting ran those and no priors…once again she hadnt been caught. If this woman was an LNP she could have certainly earned a very good living…..she’s an adreneline junkie, thats all.

  2. tonnibell says:

    Adreneline and who knows what else, I bet if the school district or anywhere else she was sent did a count on anything that would be considered a ‘feel-good’ drug….they may come up a little short….check the script pads and inventory!

  3. tree_guy says:

    People who marry felons who are incarcerated must really have some self esteem issues. The good news is that maybe she can serve her time in the same facility with her husband and they can share some quality time together.

  4. tree_guy says:

    Hard to find people with this persons multi-disciplined skill set. She’s not only skilled at putting band aids on childrens boo boos, she can also jam a gun in some bank tellers faces. Maybe she can become an accomplished author now like the barefoot bandit.

  5. fivecardstud says:

    Maybe the school district was in on it with her. Their budget has been mighty tight and they may have found a way to help the budget. LOL

  6. mditmore says:

    This lady worked in my daughter’s clasroom. It is super scary to think that she had access to childrens and parents personal information. She was super nice and did take good care of the kids that she was responsible for.

  7. tree_guy says:

    How come nobody at the Bethel Schools recognized her picture when the Tribune was posting all those Bad Hair Bandit pictures a few months ago?

  8. PolarBear53 says:

    we are all capable of doing desperate things, at one point or another in our lives we might face issues. How we handle these are what makes us different. Now by being caught hopefully she will get some help.

  9. nwcolorist says:

    New video series – “Nurses Gone Wild”.

    Actually, considering her background, it’s sad.

  10. tree_guy says:

    There once was nurse with bad hair,
    Who was lonely in her one woman lair,
    So she acquired an affliction
    For a man with a conviction.
    Didn’t they make a cute Bonne & Clyde pair?

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