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Assistant manager charged in bizarre East LA 2012 bank robbery

An assistant manager of a Bank of America in East Los Angeles faces federal charges stemming from a bank robbery last year.
October 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
An assistant manager of a Bank of America in East Los Angeles faces federal charges stemming from a bank robbery last year.

Aurora Barrera was charged with conspiracy to commit bank robbery, bank robbery and aiding and abetting.

Her boyfriend, Ray Vega, and two other men, Richard Menchaca and Bryan Perez, have already been indicted on similar charges.

Authorities were called to the Bank of America on Atlantic Boulevard on Sept. 5, 2012, after the branch manager arrived at work with a device that resembled a bomb strapped to her body. She told detectives she was leaving her Huntington Park house on her way to work when she was kidnapped by two masked men. She said the armed robbers ordered her to go to the vault, get the money and throw it out the side door.

Prosecutors accuse Vega of masterminding the heist in which Barrera had a fake bomb strapped to her body to make it appear she was a hostage.

Approximately $560,000 was stolen. Authorities say between $300,000 and $400,000 of the stolen money has not been recovered. Only about $9,000 was recovered.

Barrera surrendered to authorities Friday morning. She entered a plea of not guility. She was released after agreeing to post a $50,000 bond and agreeing to wear an ankle monitor.

Prosecutors said Barrera continues to talk to her incarcerated boyfriend almost every day, according to prison phone records. The judge said she can no longer be in contact with any of the other defendants in the case.


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