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Published: 3/25/2008

'Barbie bandits' sentenced for bank robbery in Georgia

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The women plotted with a bank teller and later went shopping

MARIETTA, Ga. - The "Barbie bandits" who went on a shopping spree after they were videotaped wearing sunglasses and laughing during an $11,000 bank heist were sentenced yesterday, one to prison and another to probation.

Ashley Miller, 19, will have to serve only two years of a 10-year prison sentence and must complete the rest on probation. She pleaded guilty to theft and drug charges.

Heather Johnston, 19, was sentenced to 10 years of probation for her role in the February, 2007, heist in Acworth, Ga.

The two were caught on tape as they appeared to rob a Bank of America branch in a supermarket. They admitted to plotting with a teller to take the money and later going on a shopping binge that included a stop in a fashionable hair salon.

Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley urged Miller to learn from her crimes.

"I want you to correct yourself," Judge Staley told Miller, a former exotic dancer. "There's no reason you can't become a productive citizen when you get out of jail."

Miller's mother and sister hugged and kissed her before deputies led her out of the courtroom.

Benny Allen - who worked at the bank as a teller - was sentenced to 10 years, to serve five. The judge imposed an additional penalty on Allen because she said he did not testify truthfully in the trial of Michael Chastang, a co-defendant convicted of his role in plotting the heist.

Chastang is to be sentenced today.

Johnston was the first of the group to plead guilty, speeding up the prosecution of her co-defendants.

During her sentencing hearing, Johnston took the witness stand and between sobs apologized for hurting and embarrassing her family and friends.

"A lot of people look down on me," Johnston said. "I feel terrible. I want to set a good example for my little sister. She's a great kid. I don't want her to end up like me."



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