REFILE-UPDATE 1-Bank manager kidnapped, forced to rob Los Angeles bank
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By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES, Sept 5 (Reuters) - A Los Angeles bank manager was strapped to what appeared to be a bomb o n Wednesday and sent into her bank to take out money for two thieves who escaped with the cash, authorities said, describing a scene reminiscent of a Hollywood action movie.
Officials believe the two suspects kidnapped the manager at her home in suburban Huntington Park on Tuesday night and forced her to participate in the robbery, Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
"The two men took her to her bank on Wednesday morning, telling her that she had to wear this 'explosive device,'" Whitmore said. "They strapped on what appeared to be pipe bomb."
Following the robbery, a sheriff's arson and explosives team removed the device from the woman and rendered it safe using a remote-controlled wheeled robot and sandbags. Huntington Park police Lieutenant Neal Mongan later said investigators did not believe it posed a threat.
Officials did not identify the bank manager, who was questioned by investigators but not named as a suspect in the robbery.
Whitmore said the woman, operating on instructions from the two masked robbers, entered the Bank of America branch in east Los Angeles at mid-morning and threw the money out the front doors of the bank.
The suspects were thought to have fled in a car, possibly a white Kia. Authorities declined to say how much money was taken.
An FBI spokeswoman said the agency was assisting with the investigation. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Stacey Joyce and Jackie Frank)
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