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Holdup idea joke at first

Sun., Dec. 19, 2010

Two women charged in bank robberies

PORTLAND – One of two college students accused of robbing credit union offices has told a newspaper the idea was hatched after a running joke between the two women turned into a serious idea.

Federal authorities have accused 23-year-old Brittney Sykes, a nursing student at Mount Hood Community College, and 19-year-old Emma Westhusing, a student at Linfield College, of two holdups this fall. They were arraigned Friday.

The Oregonian newspaper reported Saturday that Sykes is a divorced mother of a 2-year-old and a member of the military police and funeral honor guard for the Oregon National Guard.

She told the paper she was having money troubles, and after the idea turned serious, she started doing research. She concluded that most institutions try to get robbers out the door quickly, so that would minimize their chance of a dangerous confrontation.

“Plus, we really didn’t want to hurt anybody,” Sykes said. “We knew you didn’t have to use a weapon to rob a bank – just a note.”

“I’m sorry that I did it. I am really sorry,” she told the paper. “I have no problem facing my mistakes. It’s just part of life.”

The paper said Sykes met Westhusing after developing a relationship with a Linfield student who also lived in college dorms in McMinnville.

Court documents say they were arrested after they took $1,370 in cash Dec. 6 from the Clackamas office of Rivermark Community Credit Union.

At their arraignment Friday, federal prosecutors revealed an indictment charging the two with taking a similar amount from the Gresham office of the credit union on Oct. 18.


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