We see a lot of unlikely bandits come through these parts. Few, however, are as head-turning as the elusive (well, until her arrest today) Granny Bandit, a 50- to 80-year-old blur of badass suburban crime, circa 1950s, with a dark Dodge Neon for a getaway vehicle.

Various victims/witnesses described Granny as wearing oversized sunglasses, a floral headscarf and a “neutral-colored faded muumuu.” But her boldest accessory of all was the sleek black handgun she used to demand other, weaker ladies' purses outside four different Fontana department stores in as many days. And it worked.

Shame on you, Granny, but in the same breath…

… props for not settling for a life of knitting shawls and watching “Golden Girls” reruns, you know? In honor of your bold, if brief, SoCal legacy, let's take a moment to recap:

Sunday, 11 a.m.

A woman walking to her car in the Kohl's parking lot suddenly finds herself staring down the barrel of Granny's handgun. Granny says something along the lines of, “Gimme your purse,” and the victim happily obliges. In a flash of tinted Dodge windows, Granny is gone.

The notorious Dodge Neon

The notorious Dodge Neon

Monday, 10 p.m.

A second woman — in pretty much the same scenario, only she'd been shopping at Target, not Kohl's — is confronted by Granny while loading her department-store goodies into her trunk. “Fearing for her life,” the second victim gives up her purse just as easily.

Tuesday night.

Granny hits a local Walmart, pulling off the same purse-at-gunpoint stunt for a third time. At this point, she's probably starting to consider lifting a new purse rack, as well.

Wednesday, 9:45 a.m.

Overconfident in her parking-lot skills, Granny gets rash — striking the same Target as on Monday, and in full daylight, no less. The fourth victim tells a familiar story of being forced to hand over her purse at gunpoint. However, something about the Dodge Neon getaway wasn't as successful as usual: Fontana police announced her capture at 2 p.m. today.

But it was good while it lasted, wasn't it Granny? If you're lucky, they'll even let you catch up on “Golden Girls” in jail.

A parting compliment from Fontana police Sergeant Bill Green, via the Riverside Press-Enterprise:

“It's (over in) five seconds: She's out of the car … whips out a gun and leaves.”

Pretty slick, for an old Riverside gal in a head scarf. We can hear the Geezer Bandit's heart thumping from here.


LA Weekly