WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A 53-year-old White Plains woman dubbed the “Buff Bod Bandit” was sentenced Wednesday to 13½ years in federal prison for robbing a Glen Rock, N.J., bank of $112,900 and using an elderly victim’s checks to steal $198,750.
Michelle Cantatore made headlines after authorities said she used a variety of disguises during holdups – including a bright red wig and sunglasses in the Feb. 15, 2015 robbery of the Glen Rock Savings Bank.
She also admitted using a paintball gun fashioned to look like an actual firearm to threaten tellers and customers in that holdup – as well as in robberies at the Greenwich Bank and Trust in Riverside, CT on Jan. 20, 2015, and the JP Morgan Chase Bank in Darien, CT, a little over a month later.
Her admission to the other robberies “were taken into consideration at today’s sentencing,” U.S. Attorney Paul S. Fishman said Wednesday.
“Put your hands up. This is for real. This is a robbery. I have a gun,” Cantatore shouted in the Glen Rock bank, authorities said.
Cantatore also admitted stealing $198,750 from a sick, elderly man by taking his checks, writing them out to accounts she controlled, and cashing them without his knowledge.
The New York Post dubbed her the “Buff Bod Bandit” after the FBI tracked down Cantatore in Miami in December 2001 in connection with a 1995 robbery of a Chase Bank in White Plains.
She sped off in a Camaro but was caught 15 minutes later after a dye pack exploded.
Cantatore was released after serving 18 months in prison, then was arrested by U.S. Postal Service inspectors in 2000 for stealing credit card numbers. After pleading guilty, she skipped bail and fled to Miami.
Following the Glen Rock robbery, FBI agents grabbed Cantatore at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in early March.
An FBI complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Newark says that Cantatore “demanded money and threatened to shoot and kill the [Glen Rock Savings Bank] employees if her demand was not met.”
When she wasn’t satisfied with the amount, the FBI said, “she directed the bank employees to enter the vault and give her more money.
Sources told Daily Voice she stuffed the money into a Louis Vuitton bag.
“Surveillance camera footage shows a white mid-sized SUV leaving the area,” the FBI added.
It was a Cayenne Porsche registered to Cantatore’s father, the FBI complaint says.
Salvatore Cantatore lived a short distance from her high-rise apartment in White Plains — and close to the Chase Bank that his daughter robbed more than a decade ago.
The paintball gun was found wedged against a pole in a snowbank, a source told Daily Voice.
FBI agents also confirmed that Cantatore used her cellphone in the area at 10:16 a.m. the day of the Glen Rock robbery, and then again at the Borgata at 6:35 p.m.
Surveillance photos show Cantatore “handing two large stacks of cash to the Borgata Casino cashier” at 6:53 p.m., it says.
The Greenwich bandit had a dark pixie cut, as opposed to the long, intense red wig worn by the Glen Rock robber.
Images captured from an ATM taken the morning of the Connecticut holdup nearly three weeks before the Glen Roc holdup show the suspected robber going into a Hudson City Savings Bank branch in the Cos Cob section of Greenwich, coming out and crossing the street to a People’s Bank branch and doing the same — apparently casing both banks.
Then came the Greenwich Bank and Trust holdup.