Former Bank Employee and Her Onetime Boyfriend Guilty in $500K Bank Heist

The woman wore a fake bomb to simulate a kidnapping and assist in the theft of $565,500 from the bank

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    A former Bank of America assistant manager and her onetime boyfriend were found guilty Monday in connection with a $565,500 bank robbery that involved a staged kidnapping and a fake bomb.

    Thirty-three year old Aurora Barrera and 34-year-old Reyes “Ray” Vega each face up to 30 years in federal prison.

    Vega and Barrera were dating at the time of the Sept. 5, 2012 robbery, according to testimony.

    Barrera walked into the Bank of America branch in East LA where she worked wearing what appeared to be an explosive device. She told a coworker she had been kidnapped that morning by two men and that they had to open the bank vault and place the money outside the bank for the kidnappers, otherwise they would be harmed.

    The two placed $565,500 in bags and threw it outside, where Richard Menchaca, a friend of Vega’s, picked up the money and drove to meet accomplice Bryan Perez. The two moved the money to a safe location. Both Menchaca and Perez were charged in the case but both pleaded guilty.

    According to testimony, Barrera planned to marry Vega and move to Dubai, but she ended the relationship after learning that Vega was dating multiple women at the time. Former friends of Vega’s also testified that Vega asked for help in planning the robbery and that he bragged about it afterward.

    The FBI has only recovered a small portion of the money and is continuing to pursue leads to recover the remainder of the stolen money.

    Vega and Barrera wil be sentenced on May 19.

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