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Some of the tossed bank loot is now in law enforcement hands

At least some of the money stolen from a Santa Clarita bank branch and hurled by suspects from their getaway car during a police chase has been returned to law enforcement officers, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Thursday afternoon.

The development was the latest in an ongoing tale straight out of Tinseltown. It began just after 10 a.m. Wednesday when four armed men held up a Bank of America branch in Santa Clarita and fled in a stolen black Volvo SUV.

Soon after sheriff's deputies began pursuing them, two men bailed from the vehicle. One was apprehended. The two other suspects continued on in the SUV, lurching from freeways to streets as they wound through the San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena on their way to downtown Los Angeles and then South L.A.

PHOTOS: Bank robbery suspects toss money during chase

With more than a dozen sheriff's vehicles in pursuit and a police helicopter whirring overhead, the SUV windows went down, a money-filled hand emerged, and bills began drifting to the pavement. Bystanders scooped them up.

The SUV eventually became trapped as people following the escapade on TV and radio descended on the area -- in cars and on foot.

A deputy found $1,001 at Vermont Avenue and 43rd Street. An unknown number of the general public heeded officers' appeal, turning in about $500. The cash "is part of an investigation," said Nicole Nishida, a sheriff's spokeswoman. "We're urging people to do the right thing."

Although none of the suspects has been identified, Nishida released these details: The driver, 29, is a resident of Carson. Two other suspects, 22 and 26, are from South L.A. The fourth person was still being sought.

Officials have not said how much money was stolen.


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--Martha Groves

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