Source AP ©

Bank employee with hoax bomb on his chest falls victim to bank robbery

It turned out that a bank employee had a hoax bomb on his chest during a robbery, but it's still a secret whether the man was a participant in the crime or a victim.

"The bomb squad made the determination that it was in fact a hoax bomb," said police Capt. Tony Rode.

On Tuesday evening, the man was in the drive-through lane of the bank where he works. The device was strapped to him with duct tape, and he seemed convinced that it was a real bomb, Rode said.

It was not clear how the robbery occurred. Authorities said the employee passed a "significant amount" of money to two men and a woman he claimed had abducted him at gunpoint from his home and brought him to the Wachovia bank branch in downtown Hollywood.

The employee said the alleged kidnappers wore masks, the two men had guns and he could only provide a generic description to investigators, Rode said.

The bank employee, whose identity was not released, was not injured. He and his girlfriend were questioned overnight by investigators and released early Wednesday, but it was still unclear whether they had been victims or participants, Rode said.

The Broward County sheriff's bomb squad used a robot to detonate the suspected bomb after removing it from the man.

"It would not have exploded by itself," Rode said Wednesday.

The case was reminiscent of a bank robbery in 2003 in which a pizza delivery driver in Erie, Pennsylvania, was found with a bomb attached to homemade collar around his neck.

The pizza delivery man, Brian Wells, told police he had been abducted and forced to rob the bank. State troopers arrested him and called in a bomb squad, but the device exploded, killing Wells, before they could remove it. Federal prosecutors in July said Wells was knowingly involved in the robbery plot, an allegation Wells' family denies.

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