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Ex-bank employee inspired by movie ‘The Town’ convicted of robbery

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 10:14 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — CHICAGO — A former bank employee who was inspired to rob a bank after watching the critically acclaimed movie, “The Town,” was convicted Wednesday of holding up south suburban bank in May 2011 and escaping with $120,000 in cash.

Navahcia Edwards and her then-boyfriend had donned nuns’ costumes and scary masks that were similar to what the bandits in the movie wore, prosecutors said.

In finding her guilty of bank robbery and conspiracy charges, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly said he had put on one of the masks as part of his deliberations to determine if two bank employees testified truthfully that they saw one robbers’ skin color underneath the disguise.

The judge said the eyeholes were large enough to notice the skin color. The two bank employees said they could see dark skin through the openings of the mask for the robber they believed to be a woman.

During closing arguments, Edwards’ attorney, Charles Aron, raised the possibility that the robber wore “blackface” underneath the mask to hide his or her true skin color.

But Kennelly, who held a three-day bench trial, called that argument implausible based on his trying on the mask in chambers.

Edwards’ boyfriend, Lyndon Germel Wesley, testified for the prosecution against her. He said they hatched the idea to rob a bank after watching the hit movie. Edwards was under pressure to pay back the $22,000 she had stolen from her other bank job, prosecutors said.

A former cellmate also said Edwards had made incriminating remarks to her about the heist.

In his ruling, the judge said Edwards had “a very significant motive” to rob the TCF Bank in Palos Heights — a reference to her earlier embezzlement.

He also referred to her inside knowledge in holding up the bank branch because she had once worked there.

In addition, the judge said it was obvious the nuns’ costumes were purchased to do “something nefarious.”

“It wasn’t anywhere close to Halloween, let’s just say,” he said.

Sentencing was set for May 1. She faces up to 25 years in prison.

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