H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Aug 28, 2013 11:06 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Padilla pleads not guilty to charges related to alleged bank robberies

A 50-year-old Watsonville woman accused of being the Central Coast Bandit pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges against her.

Cristina Padilla is charged with nine counts of second degree burglary and robbery and two counts of attempted robbery.

These charges are related to bank robberies in Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, Nipomo, and Atascadero.

Padilla pleaded not guilty after admitting to KSBY's Caroline Lowe in an interview on Monday that she was indeed a bank robber. She told Lowe she also made that admission to an investigator the night she was arrested.

Padilla was taken into custody after a woman resembling the Central Coast Bandit was seen at a bank in San Luis Obispo on Friday.

Police and the California Highway Patrol followed the woman's car until the chase ended in a crash in Paso Robles.

During her interview at San Luis Obispo County Jail, Padilla told Lowe she was desperate for money to buy food and school uniforms for her 11-year-old daughter.

She also insisted she never used a gun during the bank robberies, but admitted she gave a teller a note implying she had a loaded weapon.

Because of the seriousness of the crime, if Padilla is convicted, she will be sent to state prison.

Padilla was convicted of first degree burglary back in 2005 in Monterey County.

Her bail has been set at $1 million.

Padilla is also charged with fleeing an officer and assault with a deadly weapon, the car she was allegedly driving during the police chase.

Padilla will appear in court again on September 4th.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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