Local News

Fayetteville Woman, 9 Months Pregnant, Faces Robbery Charges

Posted December 12, 2002 6:12 a.m. EST

— At nine months pregnant, many expectant mothers spend all their available time preparing the nursery and counting down the final days to their due date, but one Fayetteville woman will spend that time behind bars.

Police say 26-year-old Tina Byers, who is nine months pregnant, allegedly commited five robberies, including two at banks. All the robberies have happened in the last three weeks.

The latest robbery occurred Wednesday at a BB&T bank. Police say Byers walked into the bank on Raeford Road and handed the teller a note demanding cash.

Police say Byers was handed cash and then took off in a Mitsubishi Mirage.

Byers maintains that she would not put her child at risk in such a way.

"I'm innocent," she said.

Robin Harger's ice cream shop was hit the day before Thanksgiving. Harger said she had no idea Byers was expecting.

In that robbery and others, police say Byers wore baggy clothes with a hat. Police said she is dressed similarly in a bank surveillance photo.

"As an adult and as a person who'd want to have children, it makes me angry," Harger said. "To me, it's being totally irresponsible for your unborn baby."

In each case, investigators say Byers never displayed a gun, just threatened that she had one in notes she passed to the victims.

Police said the real victim is Byers' unborn baby.

"Unfortunately, we find this to be true every day," said Sgt. Anthony Kelly. "People risk the lives of their unborn or infant children to commit crimes."

Byers was transferred from the Cumberland County Jail to the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women in Raleigh.

A spokesman at the correctional facility said that, ideally, Byers will have her baby at a local hospital. She then can request the baby be put up for adoption, put into foster care or given to a member of her family.

If Byers chooses the last option - handing over the baby to a family member - the Department of Social Services will investigate whether or not the relative's home is fit for an infant.