Kim Baldonado, Troy McLaurin
A man was arrested in connection with the Sept. 5 robbery of a Bank of America branch in East Los Angeles where the branch manager was kidnapped and forced to open the vault. Neighbors say the suspect and the victim may have dated. Kim Baldonado reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2012
Authorities have arrested and released a suspect in an East Los Angeles bank robbery in which a branch manager was kidnapped and forced to demand money for the robbers.
The suspects in the Sept. 5 crime appeared to get away with a risky operation that had Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies send in a bomb-squad robot to a Bank of America branch.
The location's manager said she had been kidnapped at her Huntington Park home, held overnight, and then forced to enter the branch and get money.
Ray Vega, 33, of Bell, was arrested Thursday evening, one day after the robbery, Huntington Park police said Wednesday. Anonymous sources told the Los Angeles Times that Vega was an acquaintance of the still-unidentified bank manager.
The manager had a device strapped to her chest that was detonated outside the bank by a bomb-squad robot at the a dramatic and unusual crime scene.
Neighbors say the manager may be Vega's ex-girlfriend, and they described the suspect as a "very nice man."
"I couldn't believe that he would've been involved in something like that," said neighbor Carlos Mena.
Vega was charged with conspiracy and robbery, and bail was set at $100,000, the police department said in a press release.
Vega posted bail and was released early Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department inmate information website.
"This investigation remains very fluid, active and is ongoing," the Huntington Park Police Department said, adding that it would release no specific details.
The department said it would not release a photograph of Vega.