LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A group of people who robbed a Bank of America in Santa Clarita led sheriff’s deputies on a wild chase today that sparked a circus-like atmosphere in South Los Angeles, where the suspects tossed money out of their SUV, prompting residents to run into streets and crowd around deputies as the suspects were arrested.
The chase began shortly after 10 a.m., when at least four suspects robbed the bank branch in the 18000 block of Soledad Canyon Road in the Santa Clarita area. Deputies began pursuing the suspects, who were in a dark-colored SUV, starting a pursuit that initially led to the Sylmar area.
Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told KCAL9 that two suspects jumped out of the vehicle when it stopped on Yarnell Street in Sylmar, and another jumped out on nearby Hubbard Street. Those suspects remained at large, and sheriff’s deputies set up a large containment area as they swept through the area.
The chase continued on the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway and eventually onto the southbound Pasadena (110) Freeway and onto Third Street and Alvarado Street in downtown Los Angeles shortly before 11 a.m.
As the driver continued leading the chase in South Los Angeles, another suspect in the back seat began throwing money out of the SUV’s windows. The flying money drew immediate attention from residents, some of whom scrambled into the streets to scoop up the discarded cash.
Some residents could be seen chasing the vehicle on foot in hopes of grabbing some of the purloined loot.
The driver of the SUV led authorities onto narrow streets through residential neighborhoods, at times going onto sidewalks and driving the wrong way on one-way streets.
At about 11:20 a.m., the SUV got stuck on crowded residential street, and sheriff’s deputies swarmed the vehicle with guns drawn, dragging two suspects from the vehicle.
As they made the arrests, however, dozens of residents who had been following the chase packed into the intersection, setting up a tense situation as authorities tried to get the suspects into a patrol car. Los Angeles police summoned more units to the scene and set up a skirmish line to control the crowd.
As the suspects were being driven from the scene, some people ran after the patrol car, some pounding on the car or windows.
Parker told KCAL that sheriff’s investigators would use electronic mapping to determine where money was thrown from the vehicle to determine if any of the cash could be recovered.