A bizarre scene unfolded during a chase through South Los Angeles on Wednesday as money was repeatedly thrown from a fleeing vehicle involved in a bank robbery pursuit, and a crowd formed, mobbing the cars at an intersection. A bystander's dog even jumped into the fracas.
L.A. County Sheriff's Department Captain Mike Parker said the robbers threw bills out of the window at least ten times.
"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...That's a pretty unusual combination."
The chase culminated at the intersection of Vernon and Kansas Avenues. LAPD Captain Jorge Rodriguez of Newton Division said he dispatched between 10 to 15 of his officers to the scene for crowd control. Two suspects were pulled from the vehicle by deputies. Two people bailed from the pursued vehicle in the Sylmar area.
Rodriguez did not feel the crowd was malicious. "What happened here was that the suspects were throwing money out the window," he said, and when residents realized the chase was speeding through through their neighborhoods, they went outside.
"Here's the danger," said Rodriguez. "I know people are usually intrigued by this kind of incident and everybody wants to come out and see…but it's really dangerous," pointing to last night's chase that ended in a shootout in Downtown L.A.
PS, "Anybody who picked up that money, please return it to your local police station," Rodriguez noted. "That money is serialized; that money is evidence of a crime."
NBC LA reports that the FBI described the bank heist as a takeover-style robbery, meaning everyone in the bank was aware a robbery was in progress. The FBI is investigating any possible connection to other recent robberies.
The L.A. Times reports that three of the four suspects connected to the robbery/pursuit were arrested Wednesday. Police continue to searching for the fourth person.