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3 Men Charged in Fake Bomb Bank Robbery

EAST LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Three men suspected of playing a role in a September bank robbery in which a bank employee was outfitted with a fake explosive device were charged in connection with the case Monday, according to the FBI and Huntington Park Police.

bofa-fake-bomb

Bomb squad personnel at a Bank of America branch that was robbed in September 2012. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Ray Vega, 34, Richard Menchaca, 36, and Bryan Perez, 27, were taken into custody by FBI Agents Friday.

Vega was accused of planning the September 5 robbery at the Bank of America located at 941 S. Atlantic Ave., where a woman believed to be his girlfriend worked as an assistant branch manager, according to the FBI.

Vega allegedly had the woman, identified only as A.B., wear a device that appeared to be an explosive so she would look like a hostage when she arrived at work, officials said.

The device was later determined by explosives experts to be a fake.

A.B. informed her colleagues inside the bank about the device and collected the money, according to Huntington Park Police.

The cash was placed outside the bank’s back doors where Menchaca was accused of taking it, meeting with Vega and Perez at a hotel room, and splitting up the money.

Authorities were unable to locate the stolen money.

Vega was taken into custody the day after the robbery. He was charged with conspiracy and robbery, and then released on $100,000 bail.

Authorities were still investigating woman’s level of involvement in the robbery.

Vega was rearrested Friday in Atlanta and was held in federal custody over the weekend. FBI SWAT officers arrested Menchaca in Fontana. Perez was arrested following a vehicle stop in Los Angeles.

All three defendants were scheduled to appear in court Monday.

If convicted, the men could face up to 25 years in prison.

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