Three Charged in East LA Bank Robbery

By City News Service

Three men were in custody Monday in the Sept. 5, 2012, robbery of a Bank of America in East Los Angeles that involved the supposed kidnapping of an assistant branch manager, who authorities said was a girlfriend of one suspect.

Arrested last Friday were Reyes “Ray” Vega, 34, who was found in Atlanta; Richard Menchaca, 36, arrested in Fontana, and Bryan Perez, 27, arrested in Huntington Park, authorities said.

Vega was arrested the day after the robbery and released on $100,000 bail.

The assistant branch manager — police said her initials were A.B. but declined to name her — was a girlfriend of Vega’s.

The men were named in an April 25 grand jury indictment charging them with bank robbery, police said. All three were expected to appear in federal court Monday, Vega in Atlanta and the other two in Los Angeles.

The indictment alleges that Vega planned to rob the bank where his girlfriend worked.

According to the indictment, Menchaca and Perez cased the bank and surrounding area before the robbery, and Vega arranged for the vehicles to be used during the robbery, police said.

“The indictment further alleges that on the morning of the robbery and during it, Vega arranged for (his girlfriend) to wear a device resembling an explosive on her person so that she would appear to be a hostage,” police said in a statement.

Following the crime, the woman had told authorities that two masked men had abducted her from in front of her Huntington Park residence and told her that a bomb had been strapped to her body.

She said they told her to throw money from a back door of the bank at 941 S. Atlantic Blvd., which she did. The suspects escaped with $565,500, according to KCAL9. Investigators later determined that no explosives had been involved in the crime.

It was unclear if the woman would be arrested.

The stolen money remains missing. Investigators believe others may have been involved and know where the stolen money is.

Anyone with more information about the robbery was urged to call (888) 226-8443. The bank has offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of other suspects responsible for the crime.

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May 23, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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