Bank manager forced to take part in Los Angeles bank robbery

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 05, 2012 4:16 PM

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles bank manager was strapped to what appeared to be a bomb on Wednesday and sent into her bank to take out money for two thieves who escaped with the cash, in a scene reminiscent of a Hollywood movie, authorities said.

Officials believe the two suspects, who confronted the manager at her home on Tuesday night and forced her to participate in the robbery, fled with the money, Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman, Steve Whitmore, said.

"The two men took her to her bank on Wednesday morning, telling her that she had to wear this explosive device," he said. "They strapped on what appeared to be pipe bomb."

Following the robbery, a sheriff's arson and explosives team removed the device from the woman and rendered it safe, Whitmore said. Officials did not identify the bank manager.

Whitmore said the woman entered the Bank of America branch in east Los Angeles at mid-morning and told her colleagues what was happening before she took the money and threw it out the front doors.

The suspects were thought to have taken the money from outside the bank before fleeing in a car described as possibly a white Kia, Whitmore said. He did not say how much money the robbers may have taken.

The bank manager, who was described as frantic and crying, was being questioned by detectives.

Whitmore said authorities had no further information. He could not provide a description of the suspects. Explosives experts were trying to determine if the device strapped to the bank manager was in fact a bomb.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Stacey Joyce)