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New Haven woman, NJ accomplice arrested as bank robbery nuns

TANNERSVILLE, Pa. —  Two women charged with robbing a pair of New Jersey banks are also suspected of trying to rob a bank in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains while dressed as nuns.

Nineteen-year-old Swahilys Pedraza-Rodriguez, of New Haven, Connecticut, and 23-year-old Melisa Aquino Arias, of the Dominican Republic, appeared before a judge in Newark, New Jersey, on Monday. They’re charged with robbing banks in Garfield and Teaneck, New Jersey, while one or both wore head scarves.

The Garfield heist was Sept. 27. The Teaneck heist was Sunday, when the women were arrested.

Law enforcement officials say the women are also suspected in an attempted robbery of the Citizens Bank in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 28. Those robbers were dressed as nuns and ran away without money after an alarm was triggered.

The FBI had posted surveillance photos on Twitter from the Pennsylvania heist.

The women’s attorneys didn’t immediately return messages Tuesday.