Accused bank robber takes to fundraising site to plead innocence while on the run

TACOMA -- A woman just arrested by police for her alleged involvement in a bank robbery set up an online fundraising page while she was a fugitive, claiming she and her husband -- who was shot by police and arrested -- were simply trying to open a bank account and victims of racial profiling by officers.

Brittney Winston, 26, was arrested by police around 1 p.m. Thursday at her home in Parkland. She and her husband, 27-year-old Michael David Winston, face charges of first-degree robbery in Pierce County Court.

According to the the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, Michael Winston entered the foyer of a Lakewood Bank of America Monday wearing dark clothing, a hat, gloves, sunglasses and a fake beard. Michael spotted an armored car driver, pulled out a handgun and demanded money, police said. The armored car driver drew his own weapon and fired, hitting Michael five times, including once in the leg and another in the head.

Michael was severely wounded, but somehow managed to hop into the getaway car waiting outside the bank allegedly driven by Brittney, police said. The two drove away and escaped police.

Brittney later dropped Michael off at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tacoma where he is now recovering under police supervision.

Police found the getaway car late Monday and determined it had been stolen at gunpoint in August. But Brittney was nowhere to be found.

While on the lamb, a woman claiming to be Brittney started an online funding account, alleging that she and her husband were simply in the bank to open an account, and had no intention of robbery.

In a rambling and insistent informational paragraph on the Fundly page, Brittney says her husband is an Army Veteran who was legally in possession of a gun. She said he forgot it was on him when he stepped into the bank. She also contends the armed guard was profiling her husband, leading him to shoot.

"This is racial profiling and attempted murder," Brittney said on the Fundly page. "My husband has since been called a gang member, a bad guy, and a bank robber his character being completely smeared by local media and lying cops. He is none of these... please help me raise money to stop the lying racist police officers of Lakewood."

Brittney continues:

"(Police) have no case so they are trying to create one by ransacking my home where they found NOTHING and even trying to take us both away from our two children..."

Brittney claims her husband has no prior criminal history.

The Fundly page has so far raised $75 dollars. It has a goal of $500.

At least one commenter doesn't believe Brittney's side of the story, pointing to other apparently fraudulent Fundly pages she has set up and holes in her account.

"This is sad," said one commenter. "You should remove (this post) because I will be all over Facebook and other social networks to let them know you are a fraud."

Police have not yet addressed Brittany's Fundly account. They did however mentioned they found a note from Brittney prior to her arrest, saying that she denies the robbery and that she only drove Michael to the bank to transfer money.

Michael is currently in the hospital, and is will be arrested upon his release, police said.