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Bank Heist Disrupts The Times

Crime: Robber leaves what is found to be a fake bomb. Paper's adjacent offices partially cleared.

June 15, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Portions of the Los Angeles Times building were evacuated for several hours Friday after a man who robbed a bank on the building's ground floor left what appeared to be a pipe bomb as his calling card, police said.

All employees returned to the building about three hours later after police bomb specialists used a remote-controlled robot to detonate the phony bomb in the bank at the corner of 1st Street and Broadway. There were no injuries during the robbery or detonation.

The lone robber, described by police as a 5-foot-3 Latino 35 to 40 years old, entered the Bank of America branch about 12:15 p.m. posing as a customer, said Los Angeles Police Lt. Jim Grayson.

The man presented a teller with an envelope that contained a note demanding money, Grayson said.

On the counter the robber placed a small blue cloth bag, which was opened enough to reveal a long metal pipe connected by several wires to a small watch that was strapped to the device, the lieutenant said.

The suspect fled with a handful of cash but not the blue bag, Grayson said, adding:

"He told the teller: 'I'm going to leave you a little something.' "

The robber was last seen fleeing on foot along Broadway. Police blocked traffic around the building for several blocks until the device was detonated.

Grayson said that bombs are rarely used in bank robberies.

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