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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

Monday, February 5, 2018

"Freedom Fighter Bandit" Arrested And Charged With Bank Robbery

Suspect Arrested In Nashville After Robbing Credit Union in Crossville, Tennessee

Nilsa Marie Urena, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged with bank robbery yesterday, after being arrested near the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Nashville on Saturday, following an earlier robbery of the Upper Cumberland Credit Union in Crossville, Tennessee.

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, on Saturday, February 3, 2018, a woman entered the Upper Cumberland Federal Credit Union and handed a teller a note which read, “Bomb [;] 20 minutes [;] no cops [;] Allah.”  The robber was given $1,000 in $100 bills, after which she left the bank and walked toward a nearby apartment complex, where another bank employee observed her to be changing clothes.

During the immediate investigation by responding officers from the Crossville Police Department and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, officers determined that a suspect matching the description of the robber was seen entering a vehicle at a nearby grocery store.  The investigation led officers to an address where the vehicle was registered, where they learned that the vehicle’s owner operated a car service and was currently transporting a client to Nashville. 

Officers called the owner of the vehicle and surreptitiously alerted him to the possibility that he was transporting a bank robbery suspect.  It was determined that the rider’s destination was the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Nashville and the driver continued to send text message updates to the officers, updating them with the destination and estimated time of arrival. 

The complaint alleges that after the suspect was dropped off at the Greyhound Terminal, she was taken into custody at a market across the street by officers from the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The complaint also alleges that Urena was being sought by the FBI for her involvement in multiple bank robberies in Georgia and had been dubbed by the media as the “Freedom Fighter Bandit.”  There was also an active warrant for Urena charging her with one of those robberies in Douglas County, Georgia.

If convicted, Urena faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

U.S. Attorney Cochran commended the outstanding response and investigation by the Crossville Police Department; the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department; the FBI; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. U.S. Attorney Cochran also commended the actions of the witnesses and the driver of the vehicle who provided invaluable assistance to law enforcement.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Jaworski is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Violent Crime
David Boling Public Information Officer 615-736-5956
Updated February 9, 2018