3 Charged in East L.A. Fake-Bomb Bank Robbery; Half Mil Missing
File photo of B of A downtown by ricardodiaz11 for the LA Weekly Flickr pool.
It was pretty clear from the get-go that the wild robbery last summer of an East L.A. Bank of America involving an assistant branch manager outfitted with a fake bomb might have been an inside job.
Said manager was not charged, but three others, including her boyfriend, were, the FBI announced today:
The chargees are Reyes "Ray" Vega, Richard Menchaca and Bryan Perez, according to the bureau.
Though a grand jury indicted the trio last month, the FBI didn't announce it until today: The three weren't arrested until Friday.
According to feds: Vega, 34, was nabbed by agents in Atlanta; Menchaca, 36, was arrested in Fontana; and Perez, 27, was arrested during an L.A. traffic stop by detectives with the Huntington Park Police Department.
The bank manager who was described as "one of" Vega's girlfriends, identified only by the initials A.B., was not indicted.
Authorities say the three conspired to rob the bank:
They allegedly cased it out the day before the Sept. 5 robbery, used cars belonging to relatives of one of suspects (Vega), sent A.B. to work the next morning with a fake bomb strapped to her body, and had one of the three (Menchaca) nab the cash after A.B. set it outside the bank.
The trio then met at a hotel to split up the take, said to be $565,500, feds allege. Interestingly, the cash has yet to be found.
View Larger Map
So, to recap, these guys allegedly used cars traceable to relatives, a girlfriend and a fake bomb. Yeah, nothing could go wrong.
Clearly there's a lot of info being kept from the public. The charges include "conspiracy to commit bank robbery, [actually committing] bank robbery and aiding and abetting each other by force, violence and intimidation," according to an FBI statement.
Sounds like the suspects allegedly had some drama. And what's with the assistant branch manager who actually went inside the bank that morning? She must be cooperating. All an FBI spokeswoman would say is that "she's not charged."
The defendants face 25 years in federal prison if convicted.
Agents say they believe others have inside knowledge of the robbery and of where the cash might be hidden.
Anyone with info was urged to call 1-888 226-8443.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.