LOS ANGELES – A South Bay woman was charged today in a federal grand jury indictment alleging she threw a Molotov cocktail inside a bank in Torrance after having a dispute with the branch manager.
Teranee Millet, 34, of Gardena, is charged with one count of attempted arson and one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device. A federal grand jury returned the indictment today. Millet’s arraignment is expected to occur in the coming weeks at United States District Court.
According to an affidavit previously filed in this case, on September 20, 2021, Millet entered a Bank of America branch in Torrance. She spoke to the bank manager and demanded to be helped by another teller because she believed she had been waiting in line for too long.
When the bank manager informed her that no other tellers were available and she would have to continue waiting, Millet allegedly used profane language and then yelled, “I’m going to blow this bitch up!” In response, the bank manager called 911 and informed law enforcement of Millet’s comments, court papers state.
A few minutes later, Millet returned to the bank branch and threw a Molotov cocktail into the bank, lighting a fire in the middle of the bank. A bank customer attempted to put it out. Law enforcement officers responded within a few minutes, secured the scene and recovered the item that Millet allegedly threw on the floor of the bank to start the fire. On her way out of the bank’s parking lot and before law enforcement arrived, she allegedly threatened another customer and threw a glass bottle at the customer’s truck.
Law enforcement used bank surveillance photos to help identify Millet.
Millet was arrested in Fulton County, Georgia on December 2, 2021, after she allegedly led law enforcement on a chase in a stolen U-Haul van that ended with the van crashing. Law enforcement recovered from the van, among other items, a gym bag containing four packs of glass bottles with tissue paper inserted inside the bottles, a can of lighter fluid and a five-gallon can of gasoline, according to court documents. Millet sustained injuries in the crash and later received medical treatment.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Millet would face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for the attempted arson charge. The possession of a destructive device charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
The FBI, the Torrance Police Department, and the Torrance Fire Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Maria Elena Stiteler of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section is prosecuting this case.