Courts & Crime

Teller frees himself from explosive device during Florida bank robbery

A bank teller who was abducted from his home Friday and strapped to what may be a bomb as part of a Coral Gables bank heist and hostage situation cut himself free from the possibly explosive device and was taken into police custody.

The device, however, remained inside the Bank of America at 1540 S. Dixie Hwy.

"We're asking people to stay away from this area until we have this device detonated and in control," said Sgt. Janette Frevola, a Coral Gables police spokeswoman

Judy Orihuela, an FBI spokeswoman, said at noon that everyone had been removed from the bank.

The men who abducted the teller fled the bank in a red Ford Mustang after taking an unknown amount of cash, she said.

According to Orihuela, the bank robbery actually started as a home invasion about 1 a.m. at the Nob Hill apartments in the 9800 block of Kendall Drive.

Three men broke into the teller's apartment, strapped what may be a bomb to the man, and then about 8 a.m. drove him to the Bank of America, which had yet to open.

About that same time, Miami-Dade police received calls of a robbery in progress at the bank. A massive police presence arrived, including the county's bomb squad, the FBI and Coral Gables police. Authorities surrounded the bank, located near the University of Miami.

After nearly four hours of standoff, the shirtless teller was escorted from the bank.

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