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Kidnapping staged by bank teller, boyfriend

A bank teller and her boyfriend staged an elaborate kidnapping and robbery on Dec. 9 to hide the fact she stole money from the bank to help him pay debts, court records show.

The boyfriend, William M. Bradigan, 34, had attempted to win money to pay off the debt at a local casino but when that failed, he persuaded his girlfriend, Heather M. Davey, 28, to help him set up the heist at First Niagara Bank on River Road, records show.

"I told [Billy] that I just wanted to tell the bank what I did. He told me I'd go to jail and he knew how to fix it. He said we should plan the bank robbery and then no one would know that I took $6,000," Davey said in a statement to North Tonawanda Police detectives.

However, after the robbery, Davey told detectives a different story -- that she and Bradigan were kidnapped the night of Dec. 8 in their Niagara Falls home by a gunman. The following day, she told authorities, the gunman forced her to go to the bank shortly after its 1 p.m. closing time that Saturday, leaving her boyfriend at home.

Davey told detectives she called a co-worker to meet them in the bank parking lot and had the female co-worker turn off the alarm. The gunman -- who wore a mask -- tied up both women and took $50,000 from the ATM machine, she told detectives.

In reality, however, there was no kidnapping; Davey and Bradigan -- posing as the masked gunman -- went to the bank and made off with the $50,000, with the boyfriend taking off to Florida afterward, authorities said.

The co-worker later told police she didn't know the gunman and thought her life was in danger, authorities said. She was not charged.

Police from North Tonawanda and Niagara Falls hunted for Bradigan in the couple's Frontier Avenue home, but only found his car. At first, they weren't sure if he was a hostage or suspect, Niagara Falls Police Capt. David Legault said.

As the investigation continued over the next few hours, Davey "changed her tune because she knew we didn't buy her," North Tonawanda Detective Lt. Thomas Krantz said.

Just before 8 p.m. the night of the robbery, Davey came clean, detectives said, saying she stole $4,000, then $2,000, from the bank's automated teller machine between October and December, and that it was her job to balance the machine account, so she was able to cover up the shortfall.

But she feared the shortfall would be discovered when she went on vacation, she told detectives, and thus the idea for the abduction and heist was hatched.

Davey and Bradigan are each charged with felony counts of first-degree robbery and grand larceny.

Davey was arrested the night of the robbery by North Tonawanda detectives and was released on $15,000 bail. She no longer works at First Niagara, a bank official said Friday.

Bradigan -- described by police as a low-level professional gambler -- was tracked three days later to Tampa, Fla., where most of the money was recovered, Krantz said.

Bradigan, who has waived an extradition hearing, will be returned to North Tonawanda to face charges next week.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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