Datha Nation, alleged bank robber and AIDS infection threatener, busted in return to scene
Datha Nation, age 64, apparently gambled on short memories and employee turnover when she returned to a bank she'd allegedly robbed before -- by telling staffers she'd infect them with AIDS -- to stick it up again. And again.
If so, she lost that bet. Longmont Police spokesman Commander Jeff Satur tells the strange story.
"We had a bank robbery on June 9, 2011," recalls Satur, referring to a Wells Fargo branch located in a Longmont Safeway. "She had a note demanding all the money, and it said something about infecting the bank employee with AIDS."
As Satur remembers it, this missive didn't specify Nation's method of AIDS transmission. But this warning was effective anyway. "The robbery was successful," he notes.
Denver Outlaws / Major League Lacrosse All Star Game
TicketsSat., Dec. 29, 6:00pm
Months passed before Nation surfaced again. Then, on March 27, she popped up in precisely the same Wells Fargo where she'd made such an impression the previous year.
"Employees saw her in line," Satur points out. "She had a note with her, I believe. But for whatever reason, she got spooked and left."
Not for long. On Monday afternoon, May 14, "she walked into the bank with a note in her hand," Satur continues. Problem was, "three of the employees there were present during the June 9 robbery, so they immediately recognized her, got on the phone and called 911."
Longmont officers were immediately dispatched, reaching the scene so quickly that Nation was still in her car in the parking lot upon their arrival. Satur: "They searched her car and found a note indicating that the employees were being watched by two other people, and they should give her all the money, but no dye packs."
Hence, Nation's arrest.
Is Satur surprised that Nation kept returning to the same well despite having allegedly used such an unusual method of robbery the first time around? "You don't see that with bank robberies so much," he concedes. "But that's how criminals establish an M.O., a modus operandi. They do something and it works for them the first time, so they continue to use that pattern. In this case, she did the robbery, it worked for her, so she stuck to the pattern."
This approach might have paid of for her, Satur believes, if not for the bank's employees. "Those guys deserve all the credit," he says. "They did a tremendous job. They were aware of their surroundings, on top of things, and when she walked in, they were on the phone. That really helped us to get her arrested."
That and her alleged willingness to return to the scene of the crime -- repeatedly. Here's a larger look at Nation's booking photo.
Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Nick Beram sentenced for five bank robberies as stun-gun wielding Sparky bandit."
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.