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1 suspect arrested, 2 at large in bank heist

May 13, 2010 12:54:21 AM PDT
One of three armed bank robbery suspects has been arrested following a pursuit and search on the 405 Freeway. Several law enforcement agencies are still searching for the two other suspects who were allegedly involved in a bank heist in Laguna Niguel.The suspect was taken into custody just after 2 p.m. near the Woodruff Avenue offramp on the 405 Freeway, where authorities deployed tear gas to draw out suspects, starting a brush fire. The fire was quickly extinguished.

The pursuit of the suspects in a white SUV began in the Orange County area at about 10:30 a.m. One suspect bailed out of the vehicle at the 605 Freeway and Carson Avenue in the Long Beach area.

Two other suspects bailed out at Willow Street and Woodruff Avenue, where there was reportedly an officer-involved shooting. Witnesses say they heard as many as 10 shots fired, but no one was hit. The suspects ran in different directions, and the SUV also got away. Police believe that the captured suspect took part in the shooting.

The CHP, Long Beach Police Department and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department are all involved in the search for the suspects.

The first suspect is described as a male black, about 6 feet, 2 inches tall, with short hair. He was wearing a white T-shirt, blue pants and white underwear with print. The second suspect is described as a male black, wearing a white T-shirt. The third suspect is described as a female black, heavy-set, with braided hair. She was the driver of the SUV.

According to the Orange County Sheriffs Department, two masked men walked into the Citizens Bank located on the 25000 block of Cabot Road in Laguna Hills around 10 a.m. Thursday. Officers say that the masked men and the woman driver fled the bank in a white Cadillac which they eventually dumped and continued their escape in the white SUV, described by police as possibly a Chevy Tahoe or Suburban.

The 405 Freeway was completely shut down for a few hours initially. The 405 South is now completely reopened, and some lanes of the 405 North have been reopened.

Residents in the area have been warned through a reverse-911 call to stay in homes with doors locked and windows shut.

Several schools in the area have been put on lockdown, including Prisk Elementary, Stanford Jr. High, St. Joseph's Catholic School and Los Altos Methodist Church Preschool.

Some parents even rushed to school to pick up their children early after hearing about the police activity.

"It's scary. She's calling me from her cell phone from the classroom saying, 'Mom, get me, get me!'" said Long Beach resident Christine Daily who said the school lockdowns scared her daughter, prompting her to pick her up early from school.

As of 4:30 p.m. Thursady, Willow Street remains closed as police continue their search for the remaining suspects.


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