Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

September 6, 2012

Suspects sought after Hollywood-style bank heist

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two masked gunmen managed to evade authorities after a bizarre bank heist in which they strapped what they said was a bomb to the bank manager's midsection and forced her to order employees to "take out all the money" from her branch.

The bank robbers got away with an undisclosed amount of cash from the Bank of America when it opened Wednesday morning, but no one was injured in the robbery. No arrests had been announced by late Wednesday night.

A Los Angeles County sheriff's bomb squad disabled the device, but investigators said it wasn't an explosive.

The bank manager was snatched in front of her home Wednesday morning, said sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. She arrived at her workplace wearing a device the men had strapped to her stomach.

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

The women then ordered her fellow employees to remove the cash from the bank and it was thrown to the men who were waiting outside, authorities said. Parker would only say there was "a decent amount" of money at the bank and the manager did enter the safe.

The two men, who were armed with handguns and wore ski masks, took off in a two-door car, possibly a Kia, and remain at large.

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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