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American 'ponytail bandit' arrested in Thailand

/ Source: The Associated Press

An American woman dubbed the ponytail bandit, suspected in a string of bank robberies in the United States, has been arrested in Thailand, police said Thursday. Her husband remained on the run in the Southeast Asian nation, they said.

Immigration police arrested Morgan Michelle Hoke, the 21-year-old suspect, at a Bangkok hotel following an FBI tip-off, police Maj. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri said.

She was expected to be handed over to American authorities later Thursday and then extradited to the United States, Prawut and U.S. Embassy officials said.

Husband still on the run
Hoke's husband, 26-year-old Stuart Michael Romine, remained on the run in Thailand, authorities said.

ABC News reported that Hoke and Romine allegedly robbed banks together in Texas starting in November 2006, and possibly in California and Washington. Hoke earned her nickname after a bank surveillance video from a Texas robbery purportedly showed her wearing a University of Texas baseball cap with her ponytail hanging down her back.

It is unclear what role Romine may have played, though some media reports described him as the alleged orchestrator of the heists.

After the first of three robberies in Texas, the couple dashed off to Las Vegas where they were married, according to the American-Statesman newspaper in Austin, Texas, where at least one of the robberies occurred.

"It's been a heck of a case and a heck of a chase," Sgt. Art Arevalo of the Austin Police Department told the newspaper.