Bank robbery cash flung into streets should be turned in, police say
But police have a message for the people who snatched up the loot: Turn it in.
Police urged people to hand over the cash they scooped up, warning that it is a crime to keep it and that they would use video footage to try to identify people.
"It's our neighborhood stimulus package!" laughed Diane Dorsey, who watched the bedlam unfold from her front yard at the corner of Kansas and Vernon avenues.
The made-for-Hollywood chase began 40 miles to the north in Santa Clarita, when four armed men held up a Bank of America branch shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday and fled in a black Volvo SUV that had been reported stolen hours earlier, police said. Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department quickly located the suspects and began to pursue them. Shortly after the chase began, two of the men bailed from the vehicle in an attempt to escape on foot but were taken into custody, said Capt. Mike Parker, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.
The two remaining suspects continued on, jumping from freeways to streets and back again as they wound their way through the San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena and onward toward the skyline of downtown Los Angeles.
Leaving downtown, the driver looped west to MacArthur Park, then past the USC campus until arriving in South L.A., where the Volvo had been stolen.
As the men sped through congested residential neighborhoods with more than a dozen Sheriff's Department vehicles in pursuit and a police helicopter tracking them overhead, the windows in the back seat of the SUV went down. A hand grasping a wad of bills emerged and let go, sending the money fluttering to the pavement.
"Kids were smiling like it was Christmas," added a neighbor, who gave only his first name, Desean.
More than a few compared the suspects to a certain folk outlaw known for robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Los Angeles Police spokesman Cmdr. Andy Smith tried to knock down such talk. "Robin Hood is not how I would describe these guys," he said. "It's just the worst side of human nature."
-- Andrew Blankstein, Angel Jennings and Sam Allen
Photo: Bank robbery suspects led authorities on a pursuit from Santa Clarita to South Los Angeles, where they began throwing money out of their car. Credit: KTLA News