A 73-year-old woman who said she had an explosive device on her leg when she entered an Arkansas bank wasn't actually carrying a bomb, authorities said Tuesday.
Washington County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kelly Cantrell said the device strapped to Betty Davis was not explosive, but she declined to describe it further.
Davis entered a Fayetteville bank Monday and told employees she had a bomb strapped to her ankle, police said. Everyone was able to leave the building safely before the bomb squad got to work removing the device.
Davis told investigators that a man had been holding her and her husband hostage in their home just outside the city limits. Sheriff's deputies dispatched to the home found her husband duct taped to a chair, but unhurt, Cantrell said. No one else was there.
Cantrell says Davis was the victim of an extortion plot, not personally involved in any attempted robbery.
A kidnapper attached what Davis thought was a bomb to her leg in an attempt to drain money from her bank account, according to the sheriff's office. The suspect wanted the woman to cash one of her own checks for an unknown amount of money, the sheriff's office said.
Authorities have said they believe Davis and her husband are telling the truth.
"Mrs. Davis felt that it was an explosive device. The employees in the bank felt that it was an explosive device. And even the responding officers looked at it and thought that it was suspicious enough that they were going to contact the ... bomb squad," Fayetteville Police Sgt. Craig Stout told The Associated Press.
It's not clear whether surveillance videos from the bank or nearby businesses show the suspect, who Cantrell described as a white male wearing a dark ski mask over his face. She said the suspect was about 6 feet tall and was wearing jeans and a Carhartt-type jacket.
Authorities believe the suspect told Davis what to do before the two of them drove to the bank in separate vehicles, Stout said. The suspect was driving the couple's pickup truck and had taken a weapon from the home; Davis was driving her car.
Police recovered the abandoned truck and loaded shotgun later Monday in a park a few miles away, Cantrell said.
Detectives also collected evidence from the couple's home and pickup truck that will be tested for fingerprints and DNA as authorities continue searching for the suspect, Cantrell said.
The FBI is also investigating the case, but spokesman Steve Frazier declined to comment.
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