Authorities arrest 'Tamale Bandit'

Alicia Sanchez Garza accused of scamming East Texans.
Alicia Sanchez Garza accused of scamming East Texans.

By Jena Johnson - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

GRAPELAND, TX (KLTV) - Police say Sherry Weisinger, the owner of Gallery Hair Salon, is just one of the Tamale Bandit's victims.

"In small towns we are so trusting and we're used to people coming by and selling and we can't buy from every body, but we try to buy, and I just felt like she took advantage of that," said Weisinger.

Police dubbed Alicia Sanchez Garza as the "Tamale Bandit."

"She's hitting between four and five debit cards a day," said Robert Moffett, with Grapeland Police Department. "She can run anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night."

Officer Moffett says Garza had three methods of duping people into her scheme.

"She'll take a dollar bill or 20 dollar bill and sit there and play with it and everybody's turning around, watching and then she'll drop it on the floor and then she'll tap dance around it," said Moffett.

With the distraction, a second person would swipe the wallets.

"And the tamales were not good," said Weisinger. "They were a fraud also."

"I've been told that some of them supposedly were made with cat food," said Moffett.

Police say the Tamale Bandit scammed countless people across 11 counties. People looking for a cheap meal weren't the only victims, one woman says Garza's scheme wiped out her legit tamale business.

"This is the only source of means my parents have, for making money, providing for my family so she ruined a lot," said Brittney Rodriguez, with Gloria's Tamales. "I wouldn't want to see her again."

Garza's victims say the Tamale Bandit has left them picking-up the pieces of their life.

"She has no compassion, none," said Weisinger.

Garza is facing several charges, including theft and forgery of a financial instrument.

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