Photo: Getty Images
  /  01.03.2023

Natasha Otero of Gastonia, North Carolina is learning the hard way that crime truly doesn’t pay. Last week, the 25-year-old woman was arrested after her mask fell off during an armed robbery and a former coworker was able to provide authorities with her identity.

Today (Jan. 3), Charlotte, North Carolina news station WCNC reported that the arrest was made on Dec. 27. The Gastonia Police Department was happy to share details on the crime. “Sometimes cases close themselves,” the organization began in a Facebook post. “In late October, GPD officers responded to a business on S. York Road for an armed robbery that just occurred,” the department wrote. “A 25-year-old woman was charged with the armed robbery of a business after her facemask fell off during the robbery and she was immediately recognized as an ex-employee of the business.”

According to officers, the suspect entered the unidentified establishment with a firearm and “a black face mask” to conceal her identity. While demanding money, the criminal also “struck the employee in the head with the handgun.” That’s when her mask fell off and the victim easily recognized who was committing the robbery. The assailant was apparently so surprised by the costly error that she fled the scene, leaving behind her weapon as well as the face covering. Authorities spoke with the employee who said Otero was behind the failed heist.

However, instead of changing her ways, it seems Otero only tried to change her game plan. The young woman who escaped apprehension for nearly two months continued taking part in criminal mischief — but, unfortunately, did not get better at it. On Dec. 27, she was arrested after being caught “shoplifting at a local shoe store.” Facebook users couldn’t help but comment on her strategy. “Smart thinking… robbing where they all know you!” one user wrote. It is unknown when she will appear in court.

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