SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) — A Hernando County woman’s “joke” landed her behind bars after she robbed a bank, according to deputies.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said on June 1, deputies responded to a bank robbery at the Wells Fargo on Commercial Way.

Deputies said employees told them at Vanessa Ortega, 31, entered the location at about 12:30 p.m. with a “bright blue object” that appeared to be a handgun.

According to the sheriff’s office, Ortega pointed the object at the customers and bank staff before yelling “This is a robbery, give me all your money!”

Deputies alleged that Ortega even forced a customer to give her all her money, saying “put all
your money in my envelope.”

However, when she got to the teller window, Ortega said she was “only joking” before withdrawing $500 from her own account, investigators said. She then left the bank.

The sheriff’s office said the bank staff easily identified Ortega because she was a regular at the bank, and upon reviewing surveillance video, the deputies also recognized Ortega from previous interactions.

In addition to the bank robbery call, deputies also got a call about a verbal disturbance at another place. The sheriff’s office learned that Ortega was also involved in that disturbance.

Detectives said after taking Ortega into custody, she admitted to yelling about the robbery while wielding a “Nerf-style” toy gun, which she said she uses for her own protection.

However, she once again said she was only joking.

Not seeing the humor in her actions, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested Ortega on two counts of attempted robbery with a weapon.