H-CENTRAL COAST

Sep 4, 2013 1:08 AM by Connie Tran & Katherine Worsham, KSBY News

Search warrant reveals new details in Central Coast Bandit investigation

A search warrant and related documents are revealing more details about the Central Coast Bandit investigation. Specifically, what officers found after searching Cristina Padilla's home in Watsonville, along with two of her vehicles.

Padilla, 50, is accused of robbing six banks in San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Stanislaus Counties over the span of eight months.

She was arrested on August 23 after a woman resembling the Central Coast Bandit, a name given to the alleged serial bank robber by the FBI, was seen at a bank in San Luis Obispo. Padilla allegedly led police on a car chase that ended in a crash in Paso Robles.

According to court documents, a search warrant was executed at Padilla's Watsonville home early the next morning. Investigators in Monterey County also searched Padilla's pickup truck, which she reportedly told police could be found at a rental car business in Watsonville.

Investigators were looking for evidence to tie Padilla to the string of robberies, which occurred in Pacific Grove, Atascadero, Nipomo, Paso Robles, Modesto, and Pismo Beach.

Documents included with the search warrant, which was filed in Monterey County Superior Court on August 30, show several items of clothing were found in Padilla's home that are described similarly to the outfits worn by the alleged Central Coast Bandit in some of the bank robberies.

Most notably, the documents show a graphic t-shirt that read "Garden Isle of Kauai" was found on a table near the front door of Padilla's apartment. A t-shirt with the same graphic was worn by the bank robber who held up the Pacific Western Bank in Pismo Beach on August 14.

The documents also include a list of items discovered by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's investigators who searched the rental car Padilla was driving when she allegedly tried to flee San Luis Obispo County on August 23.

Among those items, were two notes. One read, "Do not make a scene. Hand me all of your large bills only. I will shoot you." The second read, "Quickly hand me all of the large bills. No ones."

A black, Powerline .177 CO2 BB gun was also reportedly found in the car. It was loaded and fully charged.

According to the documents, Padilla admitted to investigators after her arrest that she was the person responsible for the six bank robberies, but denied ever displaying a weapon. She reportedly told police she brought a BB gun with her to the Golden One Credit Union in San Luis Obispo on the day she was arrested. She said she intended to rob the bank, but changed her mind.

Also reportedly found in Padilla's rental car were several bottles of prescription drugs, including Methadone. The documents show what was believed to be a small amount of heroin was also found in the bottom drawer of a dresser in Padilla's home.

Numerous eyeglasses were also reportedly found in Padilla's home, pickup truck and rental car. The Central Coast Bandit suspect was often seen wearing eyeglasses during the bank robberies.

The documents show San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office investigators took DNA swabs from the steering wheel and gear shift of Padilla's rental car.

Padilla faces nine charges of second degree burglary and robbery 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 has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Padilla is being held on $1 million bail. She is scheduled for a pre-preliminary hearing on Wednesday, September 4.

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