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Mentally disabled man tricked into attempted bank heist in Monrovia, police say

January 29, 2010 | 11:23 pm
Monrovia detectives are searching for a woman who allegedly lured a mentally disabled 24-year-old man into an attempted bank heist, police said Friday.

The man was picked up at a day laborer site in Sierra Madre Wednesday morning and promised work as a painter. He told detectives that on the way to his supposed work site, the woman handed him a note and told him to deliver it to Citizens Business Bank at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Huntington Drive, according to watch commander Lt. Nels Ortlund.

The bank was still closed when the man arrived but he entered the lobby and slid the note under the door. When bank officials read the note, which said that a remote bomb would be detonated unless they gave him money, they called police.

“They told him, we’ll do what you want. Stay here,” Ortlund said.

Ortlund said police responded to the 9:55 a.m. call, and surrounded the bank with swat team officers and crisis negotiators.They evacuated the bank building and surrounding buildings.

“He was wearing baggy clothing and carrying a black bag that appeared to be empty,” Ortlund said. “He was acting oddly. He was stressed out, and seemed to be deep in thought.”

It took more than five hours for police to persuade the man to emerge from the building. When he came out “he told us that he had been waiting for the people to come out with the money, but that he was tired and hungry,” Ortland said.

The man, who has a Monrovia address, was booked for attempted robbery. As soon as they learned where he was, his father and stepmother arrived with other friends who knew the family, Ortlund said.

“They were able to provide enough information that we believed it would be the merciful thing to release this guy into the custody of his family. He has been diagnosed with some kind of impairment. There is clearly an abnormality.”

-- Margot Roosevelt