SANTA BARBARA — A gunman took two employees of a Wells Fargo bank prisoner Friday morning, stuffed a duffel bag with about $130,000 and escaped before authorities arrived, Santa Barbara police said.
After authorities had freed both employees, who were uninjured, they stormed the bank because they believed that the gunman was still inside. But a police SWAT team and a squad of FBI agents discovered the bank empty and the back door unlocked.
The gunman had apparently entered the bank overnight through an air-conditioning duct on the roof, Santa Barbara Police Lt. Don Williams said. Police found a ladder standing near a skylight.
When the two employees opened the bank at 8 a.m., the robber, who was armed with an automatic pistol, forced them to open the vault, Williams said. Then he handcuffed one to the vault door and the other to a table on rollers.
When a third employee arrived at the front of the bank, she spotted the gunman inside and called police.
Williams said that by the time police arrived--less than five minutes later--the gunman had already fled.