Woman pleads not guilty after bragging about crime on YouTube

2013-02-05T09:30:00Z 2013-05-06T16:30:05Z Woman pleads not guilty after bragging about crime on YouTubeBy staff and wire reports JournalStar.com
February 05, 2013 9:30 am  • 

YORK -- Self-named Chick Bank Robber Hannah Sabata of Stromsburg has pleaded not guilty to robbing a bank in Waco.

Sabata, 20, entered her plea Monday in York County District Court. She's also known as Hannah Smotherman.

She's charged with felony robbery and two counts of felony theft in the Nov. 28 robbery of Cornerstone Bank in Waco and theft of a car in York.

Within hours of the robbery, Sabata posted a YouTube video in which she fans herself with $100 bills and brags about stealing a car and holding up a bank. The sepia-toned video, which she named “Chick Bank Robber”, has been viewed nearly 1.4 million times and made national headlines.

York and Polk county sheriff’s offices arrested Sabata at her home in Stromsburg the day after the  robbery.

Set to a soundtrack of "Warning" and "Minority" by punk rockers Green Day, Sabata uses notes written on an art pad and subtitles to communicate. In the video, she boasts of smoking weed, stealing a shiny, silver Pontiac Grand Am, then using a gun, pillowcase and note to rob a bank of $6,256.

“I told my mom today was the best day of my life,” Sabata said while holding a large stack of bills. “She just thinks I met a new boy.”

In the video description, Sabata said she planned to pay off her college loans and go on a shopping spree. But police arrested her before she could spend the money and recovered all but $30.

Authorities distributed pictures of the robber and received multiple phone calls identifying Sabata, including one from her former mother-in-law, according to a warrant for Sabata’s arrest. The warrant said she handed the teller a note claiming she had a loaded gun, although it’s unclear whether she actually did.

Sabata ended the video by saying she did it because she was a “victim of the government,” which “stole my baby.” She lost custody of her son in September 2011.

According to an affidavit of support for temporary custody, Sabata has a life-threatening disease and stopped taking medication during her pregnancy that might have prevented her from passing the disease to her baby.

The affidavit said Sabata has been hospitalized multiple times for mental health issues and diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and suicidal tendencies.

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