• Today
    July 07

  • 11:55 AM

Robbers kidnap teller in bank heist

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 25 September 2010

CORAL GABLES, Florida – A bank teller was kidnapped early yesterday from his home by robbers who strapped a suspected bomb to his chest and used him to steal money from a Bank of America branch near the University of Miami, according to the FBI. The suspected explosive device was safely removed and the teller was brought out of the bank shortly before noon. The FBI would not say whether it was a viable explosive, but said it contained “bomb-making materials”. Coral Gables police Chief Richard Naue said three men broke into the teller’s home, holding him and his father hostage for several hours. Two of the men allegedly drove the teller to the bank, while the third remained with the man’s father. The alleged robbers never actually entered the bank. Naue said they sent the booby-trapped teller inside to retrieve an undisclosed amount of cash. The branch manager, the only other employee there before the bank opened, called police. “It is an unusual event to have explosives strapped to a victim and sent in,” said Dena Choucair, assistant special agent for the FBI in Miami. Police did not immediately release the teller’s name, or officially clear him of wrongdoing, though he was described as a victim. Closed for hours A major South Florida thoroughfare, US 1, was closed for hours in both directions at the height of rush hour. Three local schools were on lockdown as a precaution and the University of Miami sent out a campus-wide alert warning students and staff to avoid the area, although classes continued as usual. The incident began with an invasion at an apartment complex in the suburb of Kendall, where the bank teller lived, said FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela. The robbers allegedly fled in a stolen 1998 Ford Mustang, licence tag R958DY. Bank of America said in a statement that “the safety of our associates is our highest priority and Bank of America is working closely with law enforcement to assist in the situation”. (AP)

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