August 20, 2011 in City

‘Bad Hair Bandit’ suspect also worked as school nurse during spree

By The Spokesman-Review

A former Kootenai County Jail nurse suspected of robbing at least 20 banks in four states also worked as a school nurse in Western Washington during the crime spree.

Alleged “Bad Hair Bandit” Cynthia Lynn Van Holland’s bail was increased to $500,000 when she appeared in court in Placer County, Calif., on Thursday, where she’s been in custody since her arrest Monday on suspicion of bank robbery. 

Van Holland, 47, and her husband, 26-year-old felon Christopher S. Alonzo, were stopped in a Chrysler Sebring on a freeway outside Auburn, Calif., northeast of Sacramento, about 12 miles from a bank that had just been robbed.

Van Holland worked as a nurse for the Bethel School District in Spanaway, Wash., from September 2010 to March of this year. During that time, she is suspected of robbing 10 banks in Western Washington.

She moved from school to school as a contracted LPN with Soliant Health, said Krista Carlson, spokeswoman for the Bethel School District. The nurses typically help students with pre-existing medical conditions, Carlson said.

Soliant conducted a background check, and “we also did several reference checks on her and found no flags and no priors,” Carlson said.

Van Holland is a longtime licensed practical nurse in Idaho who met Alonzo while working as a contract nurse in the state prison system.

She worked part time at the Kootenai County Jail from April until last week. The FBI believes she robbed at least eight banks during that time, including one in Spokane on May 9.

The 20-robbery spree blamed on the Bad Hair Bandit began in Tacoma in December. Investigators suspect Van Holland robbed two additional banks in Spokane last summer.

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