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Stolen cash not returned to the SCV

Officials say no one has driven back money after Wednesday’s chase

Posted: September 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.

This image provided by KNBC-TV shows bank robbery suspects throwing money from their vehicle during a police pursuit Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Sheriff’s officials want the Canyon Country bank’s money back after Wednesday’s flamboyant robbery and chase that ended with suspects tossing cash out the windows of an SUV as they fled through the streets of Los Angeles, attracting crowds of people.

A news release issued Thursday morning urged anyone with information about the robbery or “any knowledge about the recovery of stolen money” to call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

But sheriff’s Lt. Mark Hershey said flocks of remorseful cash collectors weren’t knocking on the Sheriff’s Station door Wednesday.

“Starting at 5 a.m., zero people have wanted to drive up here to hand in the $20” or whatever they might have gathered from money raining down in Los Angeles, Hershey said Thursday afternoon.

Three robbers walked into the Bank of America at Whites Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads about 10 a.m. Wednesday, conducted a takeover robbery and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, switching cars before they got on the southbound Highway 14 with Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies in pursuit.

The robbers led police on a 90-minute chase from Highway 14 to Interstate 210 to the 110 freeway into downtown Los Angeles, pausing in Sylmar long enough to let out two passengers.

One of those was captured, but the other still hadn’t been apprehended, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said Thursday.

As the fleeing vehicle’s occupants tossed money into the streets, their SUV drew more and more people pressing toward it as it wound into narrower and narrower streets. It was finally halted by another vehicle making a right turn in front of it.

“A lot of people came out of their houses. They saw this on TV. They saw that money was being thrown,” Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

“It’s our neighborhood stimulus package!” said Diane Dorsey, who lives in the modest residential neighborhood and watched the drama unfold from her front yard.

Authorities aren’t saying how much money rained on the neighborhood, but they made it clear Thursday they want it back.

“We would still urge people to return the money,” police spokesman Richard French said Thursday. “Anyone would encourage someone to return stolen money.”

He wasn’t aware, however, if any significant amount, or any amount at all, had been turned in.

An FBI spokesman said the Sheriff’s Department and the FBI are conducting a joint investigation into the robbery, but the Sheriff’s Department is the lead agency and the three suspects in custody will likely be charged through the District Attorney’s Office.

A D.A. spokeswoman said the charges could be filed Friday. The suspects’ names were not released Thursday, although one was said to be from the South Los Angeles area where the SUV was finally stopped.

The FBI will investigate whether other take-over bank robberies with similar M.O.s might lead to multiple charges against the three men in custody, spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.


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