Suspect arraigned in heist spree

A 47-year-old Belmont woman, the suspect in an alleged 40-minute spree of armed robberies in San Mateo and Burlingame, according to prosecutors, pleaded not guilty to the heists Wednesday.

Debbie “Sunshine” Nudelman was arrested by Millbrae police at about 8 p.m. Tuesday night in Millbrae after police departments along the Peninsula were notified that a woman in a white Toyota Camry was responsible for a string of hold-ups.

“It was four robberies in 40 minutes and caught eight minutes after the last one,” Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Nudelman allegedly began her spree in San Mateo just after 7 p.m. at a Taco Bell at 1975 S. El Camino Real. San Mateo police then received a report at about 7:20 p.m. of a similar incident up the block at a McDonalds on 1420 S. El Camino Real.

San Mateo police issued a call to all Peninsula police departments to look out for a woman who fit Nudelman’s description.

As police investigated the El Camino Real incidents, two gas stations were targeted in succession, a Chevron gas station on Broadway in Burlingame and later a Unocal 76 on the corner of El Camino Real and Murchinson Drive, on the border of Burlingame and Millbrae.

In all cases, Nudelman allegedly handed workers a note demanding money while brandishing a large handgun. She allegedly made away with about $700 total, Wagstaffe said.

“They found in her car the demand notes,” Wagstaffe said. “And they found a .357 Magnum revolver in her car.”

Nudelman is 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds and works as a lab tech operator for an undisclosed company. She is known by several names including, “Debbie”, “Sunshine” and “Roxanne” and has no criminal history, Wagstaffe said.

The Unocal 76 clerk, who declined to give his name, said he handed the alleged suspect $208 before she allegedly sped away on California Drive.

“She handed me a note,” said the clerk, who has worked there for two years. “After I read the note I looked up and she pulled up a dress and showed a gun on her belly and then she pulled it out and pointed it at me.”

Police are sorting through the events and would not comment further. Nudelman remains in custody on $200,000 bail. She will appear in court May 15 for a preliminary hearing.

bfoley@examiner.com

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