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5 Hostages Released at Kansas Bank

January 1, 2000

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ Two women took a group of bank employees hostage Friday, but released six of them after several hours of negotiations with police. The hostage-takers remained inside, and police didn’t know whether other people were still in the bank.

Officials said other employees could be hiding inside other rooms of the bank.

At least one of the hostage-takers was armed, FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said.

It was unclear whether the women had made any demands.

A SWAT team surrounded the building, and police had been negotiating with the women by phone. Officials said the women had abruptly broken off talks at least once.

The women entered the Bank of America branch, a free-standing building in an Olathe shopping district, as it was closing shortly after 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and took several bank employees hostage, Lanza said.

Police were tipped by a frantic call from inside the bank, Olathe Police Lt. Larry Griffin said.

The police department had increased the number of officers on patrol in case of trouble New Year’s Eve, and an officer was in the area when the call came in, Lanza said.

There were no reports of injuries, and police said no shots had been fired.

Early in the standoff, one hostage walked outside the bank, retrieved something from a car belonging to one of the suspects and went back inside, Lanza said.

Officials would not release further details.

Lanza said the incident was the Kansas City area’s first hostage situation at a bank in about nine years.

``I’ve never seen two female bank robbers working as a team in Kansas City,″ he said.

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