Bank of America Heist: Calif. bank manager kidnapped, strapped to bomb and used in robbery, police say

Los Angeles Police bomb squad members check for explosive devices outside a Bank of America branch in Los Angeles. The bank robbers remain at large.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - Police said two masked gunmen kidnapped a bank manager, strapped what they said was a bomb to her midsection and forced her to order employees to "take out all the money" from an East Los Angeles bank Wednesday morning.

The two men were armed with handguns and wore ski masks when they arrived at a Bank of America shortly after 8:30 a.m. They took off in a two-door car, possibly a Kia. No arrests were made as of late Wednesday night and they remain at large.

Authorities said the bank robbers got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, but no one was injured in the heist. A Los Angeles County sheriff's bomb squad disabled the device, but investigators said it wasn't an explosive.

The bank manager told authorities she was held against her will since Tuesday night. Authorities said she arrived at her workplace next morning wearing a device placed on her stomach by the men.

"She was told that it was explosives and she was ordered to go into the bank and take out all the money," said sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. "She did do that in fear for her life."

The woman ordered her employees to remove the cash from the bank, which was thrown to the men who were waiting outside, authorities said.

Parker said the woman remained inside the bank until a bomb squad arrived and removed the device from her body. The bomb squad later disabled the item with a robot. Nearby businesses were evacuated for a few hours as a precaution.

It's unclear if the woman knew the robbers. Investigators are trying to determine if there were any video surveillance cameras that captured the incident.


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