H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Sep 4, 2013 8:22 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Central Coast Bandit suspect back in court; search warrant released

The Central Coast Bandit suspect was back in court in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing and details from a search a search warrant reveal more about the investigation.

Cristina Padilla, 50, is accused of robbing six banks in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Stanislaus counties.

After her arrest, Padilla admitted to our Caroline Lowe in a jailhouse interview that she was a bank robber and told Caroline she admitted the same to police.

Two days later, Padilla entered not guilty pleas in court.

Court documents say officers from the Monterey County Sheriff's Department and the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Department searched Padilla's home in Watsonville , her pickup truck and the car she was driving when she was arrested.

Investigators were looking for any ties between Padilla and the string of robberies.

"She minded her own business. She didn't seem like the type of lady to do something like that," said one of Padilla's neighbors.

That was the reaction after tenants from 15 West Lake Avenue in Watsonville were told their neighbor had been accused of being a serial bank robber.

It was shocking news for a small community, especially since some of the items investigators found inside Padilla's apartment may link her to the Central Coast Bandit's robbery spree.

Remember that ‘Garden Isle of Kauai' shirt that the bandit wore during a robbery at the Pacific Western Bank in Pismo Beach?

The search warrant says a similar one was found near the front door of Padilla's apartment.

Handwritten notes were found in her rental car.

One read, "Do not make a scene. Hand me all of your large bills only. I will shoot you."

The documents say, after she was in custody, Padilla told officers she never used a weapon during her robberies, but investigators found a BB gun in her car that was loaded and fully charged.

"The reports are still coming in from all the various allegations that are made against Ms. Padilla," said Padilla's attorney Linden Mackaoui.

When we asked Mackaoui why she pleaded not guilty after police say she admitted to them she was a bank robber he said, "When you enter a not guilty plea you're placing all the allegations at issue, meaning right now we are disputing everything."

Padilla faces nine charges of second degree robbery and burglary and two counts of attempted robbery.

She is also charged with fleeing an officer and assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly ramming into another vehicle during the car chase.

She is being held on $1 million bail and will be in court again on September 18th.

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