Bail for Central Coast Bandit suspect is now $1 million

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comAugust 28, 2013 

Cristina Fernandez Padilla, the suspected Central Coast Bandit, was arraigned in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Bail for an alleged bank robber was raised to $1 million Wednesday, after a judge deemed she was a flight risk.

Cristina Fernandez Padilla, 50, of Watsonville, appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court for the first time Wednesday, charged with several felonies for robbery, attempted robbery and burglary. She also faces two felonies for evading police and assault with a deadly weapon with a vehicle. During her arraignment hearing, she entered a plea of not guilty.

Because she is considered a flight risk, said Superior Court Judge Ginger Garrett, Padilla’s bail was raised from $290,000 to $1 million.

Investigators believe Padilla is the so-called Central Coast Bandit, who allegedly robbed numerous banks in three counties.

While her case is currently being handled by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, federal prosecutors could take over the case. If they decide not to, Padilla could face charges in all three counties, or, if prosecutors in other counties agree to it, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office can prosecute her for all the crimes locally.

The Central Coast Bandit sprees helped San Luis Obispo County reach its highest number of bank robberies in the past 10 years — 10 this year so far. Steven Daniel Celaya, 32, of San Luis Obispo, is facing unrelated charges for allegedly robbing two banks while Andrew Gilbertson, 38, of Paso Robles, has been charged with robbing one.

Padilla will return to court Sept. 4 for a pre-trial hearing.

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