Cash From Bank Heists Found in O.C.


The widow of the alleged mastermind behind the violent North Hollywood bank robbery directed Los Angeles police to an Anaheim Hills home where they found several hundred thousand dollars, believed to be the proceeds from two previous bank heists, law enforcement sources said Friday.

Jeanette Teresa Federico told police she shared the Orange County home with her husband, Larry Eugene Phillips Jr., one of two men fatally shot after the Feb. 28 Bank of America robbery and shootout that was captured live on local television by news helicopter crews.

Authorities do not believe Federico knew any money was hidden at the home.

“If she had, why didn’t she take it?” said one Los Angeles Police Department official. Authorities have alleged that she was in Los Angeles on the day of the robbery.


When police searched the home, they found “a large portion of the cash” believed to have been stolen in two Bank of America robberies in the San Fernando Valley last May. Although sources refused to reveal the exact amount of money recovered, they said it was less than half of the $1.7 million that authorities believe the pair had stolen in previous robberies.

During the search of the Anaheim Hills home Thursday, police also uncovered weapons and ammunition, including an AK-47 and a fully automatic Commando AR-15. Investigators also found U.S. military-style helmets with face shields and kits to make hand grenades.

The discovery of the cash, the weapons and Federico, who had been sought by police for several weeks, was a boost for the lagging investigation. Police two weeks ago had said they were scaling back the number of officers assigned to the case after recovering only about $20,000, found last month in one of the homes rented by Phillips’ accomplice, Emil Matasareanu, sources said.

A few more details emerged Friday about Federico, who was the subject of a nationwide search but whom authorities do not consider a suspect in the robberies. Police had hoped she could shed light on her husband’s alleged crimes, as well as direct them to the rest of the stolen money.


On Thursday, Federico walked into the police station in Thornton, Colo., about 20 miles north of Denver, and identified herself to a desk officer, sources said. Police contacted Los Angeles detectives, who flew there to interview her later in the day.

“I think she was just tired of running,” said one source.

During the interview, Federico told police she did not know her 26-year-old husband was a bank robber. “She didn’t indicate she knew much about his criminal life,” a source said. “That’s what she says.”


Federico is being held in a Colorado jail on a child custody warrant issued in Santa Fe, N.M. A Thornton police officer said the arrest warrant stemmed from a “custody interference” case. A child she brought with her to the Thornton police station was taken into protective custody Thursday.

Los Angeles police had searched for Federico in hopes that she would provide a glimpse into the last months of Phillips’ life. Until this week, police were unsure where he had been living.

FBI agents assisted LAPD detectives in the search of the Anaheim Hills home, an FBI spokeswoman said. The agency will determine whether any items found during the searches can be identified as the proceeds from the bank robberies and therefore subject to seizure by the federal government, she said.

Police believe Phillips and Matasareanu were responsible for five other robberies, all but one in the San Fernando Valley. They include two Bank of America robberies last year, a third robbery in which an armored truck guard was killed two years ago, an attempted takeover of an armored car last year and an ambush attack on an armored car guard outside a Denver bank in 1993.

In the North Hollywood heist, Phillips shot himself as he was shot nearly a dozen times by police. Matasareanu was shot 29 times by three SWAT officers minutes later, after he tried to commandeer a pickup.