LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An assistant bank manager and her ex-Marine boyfriend were found guilty Monday of using a fake pipe bomb to rob an East Los Angeles bank.
Aurora Barrera, 33 and her boyfriend, Reyes “Ray” Vega, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank robbery and bank robbery, with a special allegation of assault by use of a dangerous weapon.
Barrera, who had a device strapped to her body, pretended to be taken hostage on Sept. 5, 2012, while Vega stole nearly $500,000 from the Bank of America branch where she worked in Huntington Park.
A bomb squad, which was called to the scene, determined the device was fake.
After an investigation, authorities concluded Vega masterminded the plot to use the fake explosive device on Barrera to leverage getting the money from the vault. The cash was then picked up outside of the bank by Richard Menchaca. Vega, Menchaca and another man named Bryan Perez later met at a hotel to split the proceeds.
Menchaca and Perez previously pleaded guilty to being involved in the crime.
Only two percent of the money stolen has been recovered, according to officials.
Vega and Barrera both face 30 years each behind bars. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for May 19.