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Orange County Digest

Buena Park : Fullerton Couple Turn Themselves In to Police

January 09, 1986|Gary Jarlson \f7

A Fullerton couple, who police say had been trying to rehabilitate themselves after a history of drug problems, were being held Wednesday as suspects in the robbery of a Buena Park bank.

Officer Terry Branum said that Kenneth Ray Lee, 31, and his 26-year-old wife, Susan, surrendered without incident after they had called police and confessed to holding up the Valley View Street branch of Security Pacific Bank on Tuesday afternoon.

"They told us they've been trying to get things back together, but they've been down on their luck recently," Branum said. "They've been going to churches for free meals and things like that.

"Finally, they got to the end of their rope and decided about the only thing left they could do was rob a bank," he said.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, a woman who entered the bank and demanded money was given a packet of cash that was booby-trapped with tear gas and indelible red dye. When the packet started to explode, Branum said, the woman threw it away and fled.

According to Branum, Lee told investigators that he and wife went to his mother's house in Buena Park after the holdup and decided Wednesday morning to give themselves up.

The Lees were booked into Orange County jail on suspicion of bank robbery and were being held in lieu of $25,000 bail each.

Of the $784 in the booby-trapped packet, Branum said, $653 was recovered, while the rest was either lost or picked up by passers-by.

"I'd like to say this (the arrests) was the result of good police work," Branum said. "But I'm afraid it was just plain, dumb luck."

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