A serial bank robber accused in a Gulfport heist has used the money she’s allegedly stolen from banks in other states to pay for plastic surgery.
Iconic Facce, a 37-year-old transgender woman from Ashford, Alabama, was picked up Friday at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston following a trip to Mexico for what is believed to be another round of surgery.
Born Jimmy Maurice Lewis II, Facce is being held in the Harris County, Texas, jail pending extradition to Mississippi to face a charge of bank robbery. According to Gulfport police, she is the suspect in a March 22 holdup at BancorpSouth on Cowan Road.
In that case, police said witnesses described the suspect who walked in and demanded cash as a woman who appeared to have recently undergone plastic surgery because her lips were swollen. The bank’s video surveillance also captured images of her.
By the time Facce was picked up at the Texas airport, she had taken on a new look — her face was swollen and an area around her nose and cheeks were covered in white bandages. Her skin also appeared lightened.
Authorities have long suspected Facce is using the stolen money on plastic surgery to complete her transition to a woman.
It wasn’t the first she’s been picked up at an airport after a trip across the border.
A serial robber
Facce, long identified by authorities as Lewis, has been charged in other bank robberies in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.
In a case in Alabama, a federal jury convicted her of bank robbery, though Lewis tried to challenge her conviction, saying she had an ineffective attorney.
However, Lewis refused to cooperate with her attorney before trial and told the judge she had no intention to do so. The attorney tried to withdraw and said his client appeared to have “gender identity issues.”
A judge reminded her she refused to cooperate with her attorney when he sentenced her to four years in prison for the Alabama bank robbery.
In most of the cases, she was wearing a wig when she entered the banks, demanded cash and left with an undisclosed amount of money.
During one of the robberies, court records say, Facce gave the bank teller and bank manager a note demanding $20,000 in $100 bills.
She often convinced her victims to turn over the cash with immediate threats to cause harm.
That was the case in a November 2007 heist at a a bank in Decatur, Alabama.
According to court records, she told the manager: “’No games, no jokes and get your hands up. Don’t mash any alarms. Don’t move or she gets it.”
Over the years, Facce has used different names to identify herself, including Destinee J. Lewis and Christy Nicole Lewis, according to information in federal and state court records.
A look at the cases
So far, she’s been accused in at least five bank robberies nationwide.
Here’s a look at some of the other bank robberies:
- On June 28, 2007, Facce, then identified as Lewis, allegedly robbed the FSG Bank in Cleveland, Tennessee, court records in the case say.
- On Nov. 9, 2007, Facce, then identified as Lewis, was dressed as a woman when she robbed the Alabama Credit Union in Decatur, Ala. She walked away with more than $9,000 in cash and received a four-year sentence for the crime. At the time of that robbery, Facce was out of jail on bond for the robbery in Cleveland, Tennessee.
- On Dec. 3, 2007, Facce, then identified as Lewis, allegedly robbed the Regions Bank in Dalton, Georgia, though the money was recovered when the suspect dropped after the dye-pack exploded.
- On Dec. 18, 2007, Facce, then identified as Lewis, robbed First National Bank in Plano, Texas. She was arrested at a Los Angeles airport after a trip to Mexico.
- On March 22, 2018, Facce is accused of robbing BancorpSouth in Gulfport. She was arrested at a Texas airport after a trip to Mexico, police said. She is being held in the Harris County Jail in Texas pending extradition to South Mississippi to face the charges.