(CNS) One of the four men who robbed a Bank of America branch in Santa Clarita and led sheriff's deputies on a wild chase during which they tossed stolen money from the windows of their SUV remained at large today.
The televised chase sparked a circus-like atmosphere in South Los Angeles as residents ran into streets and crowded around deputies as the suspects were arrested.
The chase began shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, when four men robbed the bank in the 19000 block of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Deputies began pursuing the robbers, who were in a dark Volvo SUV, starting a chase that initially led to the Sylmar area.
Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said two suspects jumped out of the vehicle when it made stops in Sylmar, one at Yarnell Street and Carol Lane, and another at Astoria Street and Foothill Boulevard. The suspect who got out at Yarnell was arrested around 1 p.m., but the second got away, according to sheriff's officials.
The chase, meanwhile, continued on the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway and eventually onto the southbound Pasadena (110) Freeway, then onto Third Street and Alvarado Street in the Westlake district.
As the driver continued into South Los Angeles, a back-seat passenger began throwing money out of the windows. Some residents scrambled into the streets to scoop up the cash while others ran after the vehicle 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.
Around 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 it.
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 - at least one of the suspects was from South Los Angeles, officials said.
Parker told reporters 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. Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andy Smith told the media that one LAPD officer was injured when his foot was run over by a patrol car. "He's going to be fine,'' Smith said. Another person who claimed to have been hit by a law enforcement vehicle was being examined.
Smith said the suspects likely threw the money out of the vehicle in an attempt to draw people onto the roadway to block law enforcement officers from capturing them.
"I don't know how much was taken in the bank robbery, but I think pretty much everything they had was thrown out on the streets,'' Smith said. The robbery was being investigated by the sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau and the FBI.