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$1,500 recovered after bank robbery suspects fling cash onto L.A. streets

Although about $1,500 of the money stolen in a Canyon Country bank robbery and tossed by suspects during a police chase through South L.A. has been recovered, officials say they are looking to find even more.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy found $1,001 at Vermont Avenue and 43rd Street, and members of the public have turned in another $500, officials said. Authorities have not said how much money was stolen, or tossed to crowds, during Wednesday's chase but are asking those who found cash to turn it in.

The cash "is part of an investigation," said Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department. "We're urging people to do the right thing."

PHOTOS: Bank robbery suspects toss money during chase

The episode began just after 10 a.m. Wednesday when three armed men held up a Bank of America branch in Santa Clarita and fled in a waiting black Volvo SUV that had been reported stolen.

In Sylmar, soon after deputies began pursuing the suspects, two men jumped out of the vehicle, officials said. One was apprehended; the other has eluded authorities and remains at large.

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.

With more than a dozen Sheriff's Department 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.

Gary Cabral, 25, said he was waiting for a bus when he spotted a car whizzing down Vernon Avenue trailed by police cars. Cabral said a man in the SUV had his head and arms out the window and was throwing money to people on the street.

"I saw money flying in the air and I was like, 'Let's go get it,'" Cabral said. 

He and others made a dash for the cash. Cabral managed to grab five $1 bills off the concrete. He said he divided the money between his two nephews.

He said he only wished he had picked up $100 bills rather than $1 bills.

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

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.

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-- Sam Quinones
twitter.com/samquinones7

 
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