The boyfriend of an assistant bank manager arranged for her to strap on a fake bomb so she would appear to be a hostage -- setting the stage for him to rob $565,000 from an East Los Angeles bank last year, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.
Reyes “Ray” Vega, the assistant manager’s boyfriend, was one of three men indicted on a conspiracy to commit bank robbery charge. Richard Menchaca and Bryan Perez were also arrested Friday and are scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday.
Sources said there was insufficient evidence to arrest the assistant bank manager, who claimed she had been kidnapped from her Huntington Park home by three black men who placed the bomb vest on her and ordered her to empty the safe.
But none of the men have been charged with kidnapping and none fit the description provided by the alleged victim, who drove herself to the bank.
Huntington Park Police Chief Jorge Cisneros said Vega planned and arranged to rob the South Atlantic Avenue Bank of America, where his girlfriend worked. Perez and Menchaca scouted the bank and then took a car belonging to a family member of Vega’s to pick up the money after the bank manager brought it out. On the morning of the robbery, “Vega arranged for her to wear a device resembling an explosive on her person so that she would appear to be a hostage,” Cisneros said.
The fake explosive was so convincing that another employee helped her empty the safe of $565,500, according to the indictment. She then placed the money outside the bank where Menchaca picked it up, according to the indictment.
“The stolen money has not been recovered,” Cisneros said.
Tim Delaney, head of the FBI criminal division that aided Huntington Park police, said other suspects are involved in the crime and further arrests are expected.
Bank of America has offered $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of other suspects.