Robbers strap 'bomb' to kidnapped bank manager in bizarre East LA heist


People walk by a Bank of America branch office on July 18, 2012 in San Anselmo, California.


Justin Sullivan

Two masked gunmen reportedly kidnapped a Bank of America branch manager as she left for work and strapped a bomb to her in a bizarre East LA robbery overnight Wednesday.

The LA Times cited authorities as saying the robbers snatched the manager at her Huntington Park home before ordering employees at her branch to "take out all the money" when it opened Wednesday morning.

The woman then reportedly followed instructions to throw the money out the bank's back doors, allowing the robbers to make a getaway in a car without being seen on bank video cameras.

According to the Associated Press, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s bomb squad disabled the device strapped to the woman, but investigators said it wasn’t an explosive.

While no one was injured in the heist, the robbers reportedly made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, the AP added.

The bank manager — whom identified as 32-year-old mother Aurora Barrera — said she been held against her will since Tuesday night and arrived at her workplace wearing a device the men had strapped to her stomach.

The AP quoted sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker as saying:

"She was told that it was explosives and she was ordered to go into the bank and take out all the money. She did do that in fear for her life."

The LA County Sheriff's Department bomb squad later detonated the device, which they said did not appear to be an active bomb.

The FBI sent the LA Weekly the following statement:

"FBI Agents, including bomb technicians, have responded with Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators to a bank robbery at Bank of America, located at 941 S. Atlantic, East Los Angeles, before which a bank employee was allegedly kidnapped to carry out the robbery. A device left on the bank employee's person was rendered safe by a Sheriff's bomb squad and further investigation is ongoing, to include search for suspects."

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