Suspected "Baseball Babe" bandit caught by alert bank customer

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

MESA, Ariz. -- A Valley man who caught up with the so called "Baseball Babe" bandit is being called a hero. His quick thinking outside a bank in the East Valley Thursday could end months of investigation by the FBI and Mesa Police.

Authorities believe 52-year-old Kim DeLarosa is tied to at least four bank robberies, and maybe even six, but a bank customer took a big risk Thursday deciding this robbery would be her last.

“I'm running through the parking lot dressed like this wearing a suit, screaming, 'call 911 she robbed a bank she robbed a bank,'” said bank customer Ed Nelson.

Mesa Police haven't confirmed if DeLarosa is the "Baseball Babe" bandit wanted for robbing at least four Mesa banks, but when she walked into the Comerica Bank near Dobson and the 202 Thursday afternoon customer Ed Nelson said he recognized her right away.

“My mom has been in banking 40 years. She's had 6 or 7 robberies. I have a lot of friends in banking and I don't know, it just didn't sit well,” said Nelson who decided to follow the woman out the door. “I just wanted to do something, wanted to get a lead, wanted to help police.”

But while following the suspect and trying to keep an eye on her, Nelson said she suddenly stopped.

“She turned and faced me and was kind of dodgy and doing these dodgy maneuvers and she put her hand on her waist and said I've got a gun," said Nelson, who added that they were less than 10 feet apart.  “I just ran for her and just put her in a huge bear hug. It was kind of a surreal moment when I grabbed her because I could tell it was over and she could tell it was over and she kind of went limp in my arms. I think if I'd let go she would have fallen to the ground.”

Mesa police said they can tie DeLarosa to four recent bank robberies.

“We have two other bank robberies also committed by a female suspect. We’re not sure if it’s the same individual, we may actually have a second female robber committing crimes out there,” said Mesa Police Detective Steve Berry.

Ed Nelson is just happy he was able to help get this one off the street.

“It was nice to hear the FBI say they appreciated the help. She was a menace,” Nelson said.

Thankfully Nelson was not hurt, but police want to warn people not to confront armed robbery suspects.  Rather they suggest that people use their cell phones to call police and be good witnesses.