Cherilyn Lopez, 24, takes son, 3, to rob bank for drug money

8:54 AM, Jul 19, 2011   |    comments
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PASCO COUNTY, Florida -- The Pasco County Sheriff says a pill popping mom made several big mistakes when she decided she needed cash for her habit. Deputies say 24-year-old Cherilyn Jannette Lopez held up a bank, with her son in tow, in the middle of the afternoon.

The robbery happened at the Regions Bank on State Road 52 in Port Richey around 2:15 Monday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies say when Lopez first pulled up to the bank, she left her mini-van running with her 3-year-old son in his car seat. Before she ever had a chance to rob the place, deputies tell us her son got out of the van, came up to the bank door, and got the attention of the bank manager inside. That's when authorities say Lopez opened the door, brought her son inside, and robbed the bank.

"We're not talking about an 8, 9, 10-year-old. We're talking about a 3-year-old little boy," says Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco. "She goes on and commits the robbery with him by her side and you say, 'What kind of example are these people setting?' And I'll tell you it's no example. The example is she should be put in jail."

Nocco's deputies did throw the 24-year-old behind bars just minutes after the crime, but not before they say Lopez drove her son to a nearby daycare. Afterward, authorities believe she was headed to buy prescription pills with her loot. That's when a deputy spotted her mini-van just three miles down S.R. 52 from the bank, near Athena Blvd., and arrested her.

Pasco authorities were able to catch Lopez so quickly thanks to an eyewitness. A woman sitting at a bus stop outside the Regions Bank saw the suspected robber leave and passed along a description of her mini-van to deputies.

Sheriff Nocco is pleased with the quick arrest, but is still frustrated by this mother's decisions. "It goes back to prescription pills," Nocco told 10 News. "It goes back to these addicts. They don't care about anybody but themselves. It's clear in this case this woman didn't care about nobody. She didn't care about that 3-year-old she was supposed to be taking care of. She goes out there to commit a robbery just because of her own addiction."

The sheriff wouldn't comment on Lopez's criminal history, but says his department is familiar with her, likely because of her history with prescription pills.

Cherilyn Lopez faces felony charges of bank robbery and child neglect.

Child Protective Services is working to place the 3-year-old with other family members.

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