(Reuters) - Prosecutors on Wednesday charged a woman with robbing a drive-through bank in a small Colorado town by falsely claiming that a man in her car threatened to harm the two children in her care unless given money, officials said.
Rachel Einspahr, 28, was charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor counts of child abuse and theft over the incident last Friday, Weld County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Terasina White said.
Einspahr has not entered a plea and an attorney has not been officially appointed for her, White said in an email.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by a detective with the Weld County Sheriff's Office, Einspahr removed the license plates from her Nissan Pathfinder, picked up the two girls whom she was hired to babysit, bought them candy and drove to a bank in the town of Severance, about 55 miles north of Denver.
She then passed a note to a teller through a vacuum tube.
"Do not sound alarm. The man in the very back wants $100s and $50s no dye packs or trackers he has a gun on my kids," the note said, according to the affidavit.
The teller believed there were "lives in danger" and gave her $500, police said, but the teller did not see a man inside the SUV as it drove away.
Shortly after dropping off the girls, Einspahr was detained by police. She initially repeated the story of a man with a gun demanding money and threatening her and the children, the affidavit said.
But when confronted with the evidence, including a statement from one of the two girls who said there was no man in the vehicle, Einspahr confessed to the bank robbery, the affidavit said.
Einspahr said she needed $15,000 as an initial restitution payment as part of a plea bargain that was set to go before a judge on Wednesday in an earlier case, police said.
"I can't go back to jail," she told an investigator, the affidavit said.
The Greeley Tribune newspaper reported that in the earlier case Einspahr was charged with 31 felony counts of theft, identity theft and forgery for allegedly stealing more than $30,000 from two businesses she once worked for.
Prosecutors in that case accused Einspahr of writing checks to herself from the businesses to settle a debt with a collection agency, pay other legal bills and for dental work, the newspaper said.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)