Bomb-Strapped Bank Teller Cleared By FBI After Questioning

Friends say bank teller had nothing to do with brazen robbery

Friends say bank teller Diego Uscamayta is just a normal 25-year-old who goes to work and loves his family, a conclusion the FBI eventually reached after hours of questioning on Friday night.

Seeing him led in handcuffs out of the Bank of America in Coral Gables after a hair-raising bank robbery had stunned Uscamayta's loved ones.

"He's not a criminal. He's the victim," said Hugo Nunez del Prado, Uscamayta's friend. "His mom was really shaken when she saw him on the news."

The FBI spent Friday trying to find out if the bank teller was really a victim or a part of the criminal master plan that jacked in excess of $100,000 from the bank. He underwent about eight hours of qestioning, but authorities concluded he was just unusually unlucky.

"He's a victim,'' said spokeswoman Judy Orihuela.

Uscamayta was released late Friday, hours after the standoff ended and the alleged robbers got away with the loot.

He told investigators armed men burst into his family's apartment in Kendall around midnight Friday morning, holding him and his father hostage for nearly seven hours before forcing him to wear a bomb into his own bank branch and rob it. One of the conspirators stayed behind and kept watch on his father at home. 

The thieves made Uscamayta drive his own car, and then fled in his red 1998 Ford Mustang. They are still at large.

Uscamayta had recently received a promotion at the bank, del Prado said. He contends the masterminds behind the robbery likely watched Uscamayta for months before moving in on their target.

"It looked like it was planned," del Prado said.

An odd plan to say the least, said the FBI -- odd enough to have kept Uscamayta under the watchful eye of the feds.

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