A 27-year-old Mesa resident with a history of drug-related convictions allegedly went on a bank robbery spree including two Mesa locations.
Taylor Stewart’s three-week, $7,000 binge – with scores ranging from $120 to $3,700 – ended when FBI agents arrested her Oct. 13 in front of a Chase Bank on Mill Avenue in Tempe.
She was charged with robbing banks in Tempe and Scottsdale as well as two Mesa banks.
According to an FBI release, “No one was physically injured during the bank robberies.”
The bank robbery spree began on Sept. 23, when, according to a United States District Court document, Stewart robbed a US Bank inside a Walmart on South Signal Butte Road.
Stewart allegedly “approached the victim/teller and passed a handwritten robbery demand note to the victim/teller. The note demanded money from the cash drawer, and indicated the suspect had a firearm. The victim/teller complied and gave the suspect $120.”
On Oct. 4, Stewart allegedly hit a US Bank inside a Safeway on Power Road.
The court document states Stewart gave the teller a note, saying, “All the $ in the bag. Big Bills, 20-50-100’s. I have a gun. No alarms. No dye packs. I am being made to do this. Thank you.”
This time, she got away with $2,160.
Five days later, she gave a Chase Bank teller in Old Town Scottsdale a similar note and made off with $1,231.
Following that robbery, FBI agents found footage from a nearby vape shop showing Stewart getting into a pickup truck. They tracked down the pickup truck in Apache Junction and put a tracking device on it.
This led them to a motel in Tempe, where an employee told investigators Stewart and her boyfriend had been kicked out for using drugs in their room.
But the truck was still in the area. Investigators followed it to the Mill Avenue Chase Bank, where agents observed Stewart put a bandana over her face – as she allegedly did in the three other robberies – before entering the Chase Bank.
A note demanding $4,200 gained her $3,700, which she possessed for a few moments before agents arrested her.
Court documents state that, after agents showed her video footage of the four robberies, Stewart admitted she did the four bank heists.
If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
On June 8, 2016, Stewart told a Gilbert Police officer who arrested her for shoplifting and possessing heroin that she was working at a Scottsdale retirement home and living in Mesa.
On Nov. 14, 2017, Stewart was again arrested for shoplifting and possessing heroin. This time, her arrest was in Phoenix.