Men indicted in connection with bizarre kidnapping, bank robbery

Several men -- including a friend of a bank manager who was kidnapped and strapped with explosives as part of a bizarre bank robbery in East L.A. last fall -- have been indicted in connection with the crimes, several law enforcement sources said.

Ray Vega, 33, of Arizona is among several suspects taken into custody after an indictment by a federal grand jury in connection with the Sept. 5 incident. Vega had previously been arrested and released from custody after posting $100,000 bail.

Huntington Park police, who are handling the investigation, would not discuss details of the case or Vega’s possible role in the robbery. The sources, who spoke to the Los Angeles Times on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the bank manager, an East L.A. resident, and Vega knew each other but did not elaborate on the precise nature of their relationship.

Sources said the bank manager was not detained. 


Investigators have already searched the home of the bank manager, with her permission, and have removed several boxes from the residence.

The woman told investigators she was abducted as she went to get in her car about 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 5.

She said two robbers forced her to wear what she believed was a bomb strapped to her chest. She was ordered to drive to the bank, where she subsequently removed a significant amount of cash from the vault and tossed it in a bag outside the branch’s back door.

The robbers were wearing masks, and there has been little description provided. One of them was armed with a gun, the bank manager told investigators. 


The heist was considered very unusual. Bank managers are rarely kidnapped, experts said. Even rarer is the use of an explosive device, which was removed from her body inside the bank by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad technician and detonated.


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