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Copy-Cat Robbery: Woman Kidnapped, Forced to Rob Bank with "Bomb"

DENVER (AP) -- A woman told police she was forced to rob the bank where she worked on Tuesday after a man kidnapped her on her lunch break and made her carry a package he said was a bomb.

The woman was released unharmed after the man fled with the stolen money. She was interviewed and released by police, and was not considered a suspect.

"There's absolutely no reason to believe she's anything else but a victim in this case," said Susan Medina, a spokeswoman for police in suburban Arvada, Colo. where the robbery occurred.

The 49-year-old woman, whose name was not released, told police the man kidnapped her from a restaurant and threatened to blow up the package if she didn't rob a Compass Bank branch.

The purported bomb was left inside the bank. The Jefferson County bomb squad determined it was not explosive.

Medina would not comment on similarities in the case to an Aug. 28 bank robbery outside Erie, Pa., where a man told police he had been forced to rob a bank by a man who locked a bomb around his neck. The bomb exploded a short time later, killing him.

"It's still very early on in the investigation and we don't want to make any assumptions as to any copycat crimes or any other situations that may have occurred across the country," Medina said.

The robbery is also similar to bank robberies in March and August in Longmont, about 20 miles north of Arvada. In both cases, a man threatened to detonate a bomb, later found to be a fake, while having someone else rob a bank. No arrests have been.

Longmont Police Sgt. Doug Ross said the Arvada robbery was "extremely similar" to the Longmont robberies. He said his department has spoken with Arvada investigators.

Medina said Arvada police are also cooperating with the FBI.

She wouldn't say how much money was taken or whether a dye pack was given with the cash.

The man fled in the woman's 2003 sports car, which was recovered nearby. Because the man never entered the bank, officers have no surveillance video of him.

Bank officials declined to comment.

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