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‘Powder Puff Bandit’; Up to $10,000 reward for help finding accused serial bank robber

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Authorities are looking for an alleged serial bank robber nicknamed “The Powder Puff Bandit.”

33-year-old Paul James Hernandez earned that nickname because he covers his facial tattoos with makeup.

Police say Hernandez is wanted for 9 bank robberies this year. He had previously spent nearly three years in prison for a bank robbery in Arvada in 2007.

He is accused in a string of bank robberies, including four in January.

According to court documents, Hernandez was arrested on Jan. 29. His bond was lowered to $75,000. He posted bond on June 13.

According to a bulletin released by the FBI’s Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force, he and a female accomplice are accused of holding up banks on Aug. 25, Aug. 31, Sept. 3, Sept. 8 and Sept. 15. 

Hernandez also failed to show up for his court hearing in Arapahoe County on September 10th.

District Attorney George Brauchler said, “I think for this system to work, this guy has got to be presumed innocent for him to have a fair trial, but I think for this system to work, he’s got to actually be at the trial. He’s got to be in the court system. As long as the court continues to cut guys like this loose, we are going to continue to see repeated crimes committed against the people of the state of Colorado. I don’t see that is what Colorado wants to see.”

Brauchler said it is frustrating that the system is letting down victims of crimes, “Every single one of these cases involves an innocent person just doing their job, who was threatened. Threatened with a firearm if they didn’t provide this guy money. Sometimes the words were ‘shoot’, sometimes the words were ‘you don’t want to die over this money’. This shouldn’t be happening, especially with someone the system had in its grasp. To let him go back on the streets makes no sense to me.”

“I think the court is responding to some moves by the legislature and pressure it is feeling to continue to find ways to put every single bad person back out on the street. I think what the public ought to know, this is a prime example. As we continue to make it harder and harder to keep criminals in jail, pending the outcomes of these cases, we sacrifice public safety, and this is proof.” shared Brauchler.

Hernandez is described as:

  • Hispanic male
  • 5 feet, 7 inches
  • Thin build
  • Shaved head
  • Distinct facial tattoos.

His alleged accomplice in several robberies is 27-year-old Mary Bannigan.

She is described as:

  • Hispanic female
  • 5 feet 2 inches
  • Thin build
  • Blonde or brown hair

Our partners at Metro Denver Crime Stoppers are offering up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest. TCF Bank is also willing to pay an additional $8,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. The tip-line is 720-913-STOP. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for the cash reward.

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