Southern California breaking news and trends

Cash-flying, dog-biting, van-jumping, police-chase suspect in court, accused of 5 bank heists

police dog

Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons

Not an actual police dog.

Jerry Lee Franklin, the parolee accused of robbing five banks Southern California banks last year, and recently leading police on a cash-flying, dog-biting, van-jumping, credit union-heisting police chase, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in West Covina Superior Court.

Los Angeles County prosecutors are charging 39-year-old Franklin with five counts of second degree robbery, and one count of evading police, following his April 23 arrest.

He faces more than 24 years in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors are seeking bail to be set at $1.2 million.

The alleged robberies occured:

  • U.S. Bank, Hacienda Heights - July 6, 2011 
  • Bank of the West, Rowland Heights - July 12, 2011
  • Bank of the West, Rowland Heights - January 11, 2012
  • Citibank, Rowland Heights - January 14, 2012
  • First Federal Credit Union, West Covina -  April 23, 2012


The cash-flying, dog-biting, van-jumping, bank-robbing police chase you might have missed

police dog

Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons

Not an actual police dog.

A wild goose chase ended with a dog bite after a robbery suspect led police on pursuit through a Los Angeles suburb on Monday.

According to West Covina police, the man jumped into a white van outside a freshly-robbed credit union and took off to Whittier where the van slowed just enough for a woman, presumed to be the suspect's girlfriend, to hoist herself through a rear window of the moving vehicle.

The van stopped shortly after and the woman surrendered. The man did not. Authorities sent in a K-9 officer that bit his legs, causing the suspect, and the cash, to spill from the van, say authorities.

The man was hospitalized for the dog bite and the woman was arrested. No names have been released. A gun tossed from the vehicle was reportedly recovered by police.

Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner


I-5 freeway chase ends in fatal shooting

i-5 freeway

Photo by Raymond Yu via Flickr Creative Commons

A car chase that began in the Santa Clarita area on Wednesday morning has ended in a fatal shooting, the Daily News reports.

The pursuit started around 11 a.m. for unknown reasons. California Highway Patrol Officer Miguel Luevano said he did not know why authorities were trying to stop the suspect

Alone in a pickup truck, the man led authorities on a chase for nearly an hour before fatally shooting himself off the northbound Golden State I-5 Freeway at Castaic and Lake Hughes.

The man's name not been released pending notification of next of kin, say officials.


Leader of the pack: Motorcyclist arrested after 100-mile freeway chase

motorcycle police chp

Photo by tripuniforme via Flickr Creative Commons

A biker led Southern California police on a high-speed, 100-mile freeway chase across three counties on Sunday.

California Highway Patrol officers initially tried to pull over 48-year-old Gabriel Barajas for speeding near Newhall, but the suspect did not stop.

Los Angeles police and CHP officers wound up chasing his Honda motorcycle through Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, at speeds reaching 95 mph, until the bike reportedly ran out of gas near Camp Pendleton, and he was arrested.

Investigators say Barajas and 49-year-old Stacey Veronica, his passenger, are in jail where they were booked for investigation of resisting arrest.

Motorcycle music bonus: