FERRIER FILES: Driver, middle TN police help FBI arrest the 'Freedom Fighter' bandit

(Fox 17 News)

The FBI called her the Freedom Fighter bandit because every time she robbed a bank she said it was for a social cause.

Nilsa Urena, a 25-year-old from Philadelphia native, is suspected of robbing nine banks in Georgia. Although there are a lot of good pictures from security footage, she avoided arrest and kept robbing banks..

The FBI believes she always found her getaway drivers on the internet. The drivers were one- off recruits. Urena was finally caught in Nashville after she broke that pattern.

She robbed the upper Cumberland Federal Credit Union in Crossville on Saturday with a robbery note that read "bomb: 20 minutes: no cops: Allah"

The teller gave her $1,000 dollars, and she walked out of the bank.

Here is what she didn't count on during Saturday's robbery-- people followed her out. They saw her change clothes behind some buildings and watched her walk toward a Food City parking lot and get in a car.

“It was a real team effort up there in Crossville,” said Nashville U.S Attorney Donald Q. Cochran. "The citizens, the bank tellers. They started the process, The ctizens were helpful and both the Crossville police department and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office did a wonderful job."

The Crossville Police used surveillance tapes to get the tag number of the car and track down the driver.

"The driver she hired to take her to all accounts he stayed calm and contributed to the arrest," Cochran said.

Instead of using a getaway driver this time, the "freedom Fighter' bandit hired an unmarked cab with a car service.

When the driver was taking her from Crossville to Nashville, he got a call from law enforcement. He was told to remain calm but that the woman in the back seat was a bank robber and might have a bomb in her backpack.

The driver texted law enforcement and told them how to access his computer and find the destination of the ride. The FBI and Nashville police were waiting for her when the driver arrived at the Greyhound station in downtown Nashville.

“She had been successful in Georgia so she came here to Tennessee, and it didn't work out so well," Cochran said. "It was good team effort across the board."

When police pulled out Urena's backpack, they found a purple wig and other items used in other bank robberies. They also found the money and a brand new robbery note ready to go for her next bank robbery.

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