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Uptown 'Beach Bandit' Bank Robber Turned in By Relative, FBI Says

By Josh McGhee | September 14, 2015 9:41am | Updated on September 15, 2015 8:19am
 The woman also robbed a Lakeview and Edgewater bank in August, officials said.
The woman also robbed a Lakeview and Edgewater bank in August, officials said.
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Courtesy of the FBI

UPTOWN — An Edgewater woman suspected of recently robbing three North Side banks has been captured, authorities say, thanks to tips including one from a relative.

The woman, dubbed the "Uptown Beach Bandit" for wearing a large, floppy hat and sunglasses during the crimes, is charged with robbing a TCF Bank inside a Jewel Osco at 3531 N. Broadway on Aug. 5.

Cynthia Wonsey, 45, of the 6000 block of North Winthrop Avenue, wore a similar outfit in previous TCF Bank robberies: on Aug. 14, in the 5343 block of North Broadway and at 4355 N. Sheridan Rd. on Aug. 22, authorities said.

In a criminal complaint, Wonsey is described as entering the TCF Bank inside the Jewel-Osco at 3531 N. Broadway on Aug. 5 around 1 p.m. and giving a teller a note demanding money. The note also said she was armed and that she was accompanied by "a goon watching from the other side and HE HAS A GUN," the complaint says.

The note warned the teller not to "press any buttons," to put the money in an envelope and not to move for five minutes after the robbery, the FBI said.

Wonsey was given about $553 and a tracking device (though it failed), left the store and escaped in a taxi that was waiting for her, the complaint said.

The robber was described as black, about 5'3 to 5'5, around 160 pounds and wearing "a beige, floppy straw hat, large black sunglasses" and a tank top.

After photos taken from surveillance cameras were posted online, three people contacted law enforcement to identify the woman in the pictures as Worley, authorities said. One tipster was a purported relative of Wonsey. A unspecified reward was being offered for information at the time of the posting.

Wonsey appeared Friday before federal Judge Young B. Kim and ordered held, the FBI said. If convicted, she faces up tp 20 years in prison.

The FBI says in the other robberies, the robber

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