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Alleged Barbie Bandits were strippers, co-worker says

Story Highlights

• Co-worker at adult club shocked that two young women accused of heist
• Lawyer says suspect a "frightened young kid"
• Mother says her daughter taking blame for someone else
By Ashley Fantz
CNN
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Parents of an alleged teenage bank robbing duo said on national television this week they couldn' t comprehend how their daughters could have giggled behind fashionable sunglasses as they robbed a Bank of America branch last week.

There also was shock at Shooter Alley, a nude dance club outside Atlanta, where co-workers say Ashley Miller and Heather Johnston, both 19, worked the afternoon shift.

"I would have never thought...ever," said a 26-year-old dancer, "Dream," who says she worked with Miller -- stage name "Adrienne" -- and Johnston -- "Charlie" -- for at least two months.

"Charlie was always smiling, just a sweetheart. She just said she played tennis in high school. We talked about kids, relationships, never nothing about criminal stuff."

"Charlie was just innocent looking. She could make you laugh just by watching her dance. She could just look at you, stick her tongue out; it was funny, being kiddie."

"Dream" said she and Johnston talked often, but she never heard the young women talk about two men who authorities say helped pull the heist off.

Benny Herman Allen III, 22, was the bank teller who accepted the teenagers' demand note, police said, opening his drawer and giving them what investigators said was a sum "significantly more" than $500. (Read full story)

Police: Miller said she was a 'drug dealer'

According to arrest warrants, Allen met the young women through a man named Michael Darrell Chastang, 27, who has a string of drug convictions going back to 2001 and was convicted in 2003 of possessing a firearm, according to a Georgia Department of Corrections spokesman.

In December 2006, Chastang served two months in jail for a drug conviction, said GDOC spokesman Paul Czachowski.

According to warrants, the four alleged bank robbers planned to split the money four ways.

And by most accounts, the bank robbery went smoothly. The incident caused such little stir that a customer standing behind them later told a reporter that she had no idea the bank had been robbed.

In the two days after the crime, the teenagers went on a shopping spree at a Gucci store in Atlanta and got their hair done, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. (Watch the suspects at the beauty salon Video)

On March 2, Chastang, Miller and Johnston led police on a short car chase not far from Six Flags amusement park outside of Atlanta and were apprehended. According to arrest warrants, police found marijuana in the car and ecstasy pills on Miller.

The warrants also said ecstasy was found on Chastang, but Miller told police, "Those pills are mine and he is just holding them for me." In a later interview, police say Miller told them she was a "drug dealer."

Allen was arrested at a different location. All four are charged with felony theft, said Cobb County Police spokeswoman Cassie Reece.

Johnston, Chastang and Miller also face drug-related charges. Johnston, Chastang, and Allen's attorneys could not be reached late Wednesday.

Johnston is charged with theft and marijuana possession. According to the arrest warrant, she confessed to police her role in the robbery and identified her accomplices.

A mother's anguish

Repeated phone calls by CNN.com to Johnston's family were not returned. Allen has bonded out of the Cobb County Jail.

Chastang, Johnston, and Miller remain there. Miller was not given a bond; she violated probation on an August 2006 DUI conviction, said her attorney, Bruce Harvey.

His client intends to plead not guilty, he said. Her next court appearance is March 23.

"She's a frightened young kid who finds herself in the eyes of a media whirlwind that she never anticipated," Harvey said.

Asked how he will build a defense against his client's admission to police that she is a drug dealer, he replied, "Obviously, not a very sophisticated statement."

The girl's mother, Joy Miller, rejected the allegation that her daughter is involved with drugs. "She is taking the blame for the boy who has the drugs, 'cause she's a sweet girl with a big heart."

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