Thursday, April 27, 2006

Worker Locks Would-Be Robber Inside Bank

A gunman who tried to rob a San Gabriel Valley bank Wednesday morning found himself locked alone inside the building by a quick-thinking employee, police said.

The man remained inside the Bank of the West hours later, authorities said.

"The suspect's basically locked in there by himself right now," police Capt. Michael Taylor said.

The employee, whose identity was not immediately released, was heading to the bank at around 8:30 a.m. to prepare it for opening when a man met her in the parking lot and forced her inside.

Inside, the woman told the gunman that she had to deactivate the bank alarm or police would arrive but instead set it to notify police, Taylor said.

The robber asked if she could open the vault but she said it required a second worker who would be arriving in five or 10 minutes, Taylor said.

The woman looked out a window and saw police show up but the robber "had no idea they were arriving," Taylor said.

While waiting for the second employee to show up, the robber told her "to go outside and to look around and to act as though everything was normal," Taylor said.

She went out but then locked the bank door and ran to officers.

"What she did was very smart," Taylor added.

Taylor said the gunman may be tied to other bank robberies in the San Gabriel Valley, about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.



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