The boyfriend of an assistant bank manager of Bank of America in Los Angeles California strapped a fake bomb to her, setting the stage of her to be a hostage and rob the bank of $565,000, in September of last year.
The three men Ray Vega, 34, Richard Menchaca, 36, and Bryan Perez, 27, were charged with conspiracy to commit bank robbery, bank robbery and aiding and abetting the other by force, violence and intimidation. Officials stressed at a Monday news conference that the investigation is still ongoing.
According to a federal indictment unsealed Monday, the assistant manager, who has not been charged, said she was abducted last September when two robbers forced her to wear what she thought was a bomb. Authorities say she went to work, took the large amount of cash out of the vault and tossed it outside where Menchaca picked it up.
The men fled with the money and she was left with the device on her. Bomb technicians detonated the device by a bomb robot, but later determined it not to be an explosive.
Menchaca allegedly gave the stolen money to Perez who then met Vega at a hotel where they split the proceeds, according to the indictment.
Vega was taken into custody a week later for conspiracy and robbery but posted bail and was released.
All three men were taken into custody Friday. Vega was re-arrested in Atlanta, Menchaca was arrested in Fontana and Perez was arrested in Los Angeles.
The assistant bank manager, only identified as A.B. in the federal document, was Vega’s girlfriend.
“On the day of the bank robbery, defendant Vega would arrange for A.B. to go to the bank wearing an item resembling an explosive device to make it appear that A.B. was a hostage in a bank robbery and the purported explosive device would detonate unless an employee at the bank helped A.B. remove money from the bank’s vault,” the indictment stated.
Investigators say the stolen money has not been recovered and are asking for the public’s help about the crime, according to KABC. Bank of America is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of additional suspects in the case.
If convicted, the three men face a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison
Authorities are asking anyone with information is to call (888) CANT-HIDE.
3 charged in bizarre East LA 2012 bank robbery
Three men have been arrested and charged in a bizarre bank robbery in East L.A. involving phony explosives strapped to an assistant bank manager in September 2012.
L.A. Bank Robbers’ ‘Bomb’ Was a Fake
Woman assists in bank heist, believing a pipe bomb was strapped to her.
Bank Robbed; Device Strapped to Manager
Authorities in East Los Angeles say two gunmen kidnapped a bank manager, held her overnight and strapped a device to her stomach before robbing a Bank of America. Investigators won’t say how much money was taken.