Banker joins bomb crew to investigate suspicious package

A bank employee in Burbank agreed Monday to suit up in protective bomb gear to unlock a complicated safe containing what could have been an explosive device, authorities said.

Bomb investigators knew that a suspicious package was left in the money slot at Community Bank at 2800 North Hollywood Way, but exactly what was in the safe was unknown.

When investigators had problems opening the safe — which required performing a "complicated procedure" — the employee stepped up.

"It was pretty heroic of her," said Rob Harris, a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's arson and explosives detail who, along with Sgt. Joe Acevedo, responded to the incident. "She was rock-solid."

Bank officials declined to comment or identify the employee.

What was in the safe turned out not to be an explosive device, but appeared to be a homemade tool created to pull money out of the drop-off slot, officials said.

Someone had stuck the tool — which was a wire connected to a sticky glue trap — down the money slot, likely in an attempt to retrieve what was inside.

The homemade device actually stuck to a Manila envelope — which is what bank employees initially reported as the suspicious package — but the suspects couldn't pull it out since the slot was designed to prevent such a maneuver, Harris said.

When the suspects couldn't retrieve the device, they left it behind for a bank employee to find. The suspicious package was reported to Burbank police around 10 a.m. Monday, prompting police to shut down the intersection of Hollywood Way and Winona Avenue for roughly two hours.

An investigation into the incident remained ongoing, according to Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn.


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