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Woman charged after bank robbery “joke”

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A Hernando County woman told deputies that she was only joking when she strode into a Spring Hill bank, brandished a fake weapon, and threatened to rob the place. She still went to jail anyway.

Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). Media Relations Manager Denise Moloney said that on June 1, deputies responded to the report of a robbery at the Wells Fargo Bank at 1337 Commercial Way in Spring Hill.

At the scene, bank employees told them that around 12:30 p.m. on May 31, 31-year-old Vanessa Ortega entered the bank holding a bright blue object that resembled a firearm in her left hand. Employees recognized the woman because she was a regular bank customer, Moloney said.

According to bank staff, Ortega raised the object, pointed at both customers and staff, and shouted, “This is a robbery; give me all your money!”

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Witnesses then told deputies that Ortega pointed the object at a female customer and instructed her to “Put all your money in my envelope.”

Moloney said that Ortega then moved on to a transaction window where she told the teller that she was only joking, then proceeded to withdraw $500 from her own account.

Ortega then left the bank without further incident.

While detectives responded to the bank location, a Verbal Disturbance call was received at a different location. Investigators determined that Ortega was one of the parties involved in that disturbance.

Ortega was taken to the HCSCO to be interviewed. She admitted to entering the bank carrying a “Nerf-style” toy gun that she said she carried for personal protection.

She also admitted to shouting the threat demanding money but said that she was just joking about the robbery.

Detectives subsequently arrested Ortega and charged her with two counts of attempted robbery.

She was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center, where she is being held in lieu of bond.

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