A wild pursuit of bank robbers across Southern California came to an end with the capture of two men who had hurled cash out of windows during the chase.
In a bizarre scene followed by news helicopters, money was thrown from the vehicle as it sped its way through South Los Angeles. People ran into the street as it passed by, with a crowd mobbing the scene at the end of the pursuit.
Captain Mike Parker of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said the robbers threw bills out of the window at least ten times. Parker said criminals on the run may throw evidence out of car windows and giving up the cash they took is less common, but not unheard of.
"Typically robbers don't throw the cash out the window, but I've seen it a few times in my 28-year career. But the combination of these events, with the bank robbery pursuit, suspects jumping out of the car at different intervals, driving around in a given community, going out on the sidewalk, people coming out of their houses by the hundreds, even at the end, when a woman that was caught in traffic – her dog ran out and ran up just as the deputies are working to take the suspects in by gun point," he described. "That's a pretty unusual combination."
The vehicle, a black Volvo, was blocked by traffic in South Los Angeles late morning Wednesday and sheriff's deputies pulled the men out at gunpoint. A large crowd immediately surrounded the scene.
Parker said that it began with four suspects committing an armed robbery at a Bank of America in the Santa Clarita Valley in northern Los Angeles County.
The robbers fled south and en route two robbers bailed out of the vehicle in the Sylmar area of the San Fernando Valley, the first near Yarnell Street, the second by Hubbard Street. Parker added that two who bailed from the vehicle are still at large, but law enforcement has the areas surrounded and are actively searching.
Some pedestrians on the scene have already turned stolen money in to the Los Angeles Police Department, Parker continued.
"We're certainly encouraging people out of their honesty and their integrity or the desire to not feel guilty to contact the Santa Clarita sheriff's station, to say I was there, and I want to make sure [the money] gets back to the true owners," he went on to say. "Whenever something like this happens, ultimately, somebody pays the bills. And we want to make sure that money gets returned to the right people."
Parker said he isn't sure if the money was marked, but police will be using electronic mapping to try and retrieve what was lost.
"Many of the L.A. county sheriff patrol cars these days have geotagging. On their in-car computer, if they hit a button at any given moment, it marks the latitude and longitude of that moment. But frankly, just watching TV news coverage and playing that back, we can tell what streets it was happening to," he said.
This incident comes after other high speed chases this week, but Parker said the number of occurrences is only seemingly large.
"We engage in pursuits on a fairly regular basis. They're usually a lot shorter than this, a lot less dramatic than this," he said. "I don't know that I would say there's a larger number or not. Maybe the time of day made it easier for news media to cover."
This story has been updated.