Robbery started as joke, says detective

MARIETTA, Ga. – Two young women charged with stealing nearly $11,000 in a bank heist went on a shopping spree, ate a meal and even gave money to the homeless afterward, a police detective testified Thursday, as the judge lowered the bond for one suspect.

Police Det. Brad McEntyre testified during a probable cause hearing for Heather Johnston.

Johnston, 19, and Ashley Miller, 18, the so-called Barbie Bandits, are charged with felony theft and marijuana possession and remain in jail since the Feb. 27 heist. Miller has waived her right to the hearing.

McEntyre said the pair shopped at two upscale malls, gave their waiter a big tip after eating and went to a swank hair salon after the theft. He said Johnston had $1,000 in her bra when apprehended.

“The whole thing started out as a joke,” he said. “They were laughing about robbing a bank and then things turned serious.”

Magistrate Court Judge Frank Cox agreed that there was probable cause to pursue the charges against Johnston. He also agreed to reduce her $26,000 bond to $10,000.

Johnston and Miller were videotaped wearing sunglasses and laughing as they appeared to rob a Bank of America in Acworth, Ga., last month. Police also arrested a bank teller and another man in connection with the theft, saying the heist appeared to be an inside job because of the amount of money involved.

After the hearing, Johnston’s parents said they were unsure how they will pay her bond. They are eager to get their daughter home and will get her out of jail “as soon as we can come up with the money,” her father, Edward, said.

“You think you’re the average, normal, everyday American family, and then something like this happens,” her mother, Lisa, said. “It’s just a smack in the face.”

Her parents said she simply got caught up with the wrong kind of people.

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