"They were throwing a lot of money out," said Renn More of South L.A. "Every time they threw the money out, the police would take it from the people."
Authorities say the suspects were believed to be behind a Bank of America robbery on Soledad Canyon in Santa Clarita just after 10 a.m. As L.A. County sheriff's deputies chased them south on the 5 Freeway, two of the four bank robbery suspects bailed out of the getaway vehicle in Sylmar. Two others stayed in the SUV, with officers in close pursuit. The chase continued on the 5, 101 and 210 freeways, and along surface streets across L.A.
When they got to South L.A., a suspect in the backseat was seen throwing handfuls of money out the window. Residents ran out to pick up the cash, even running into the street in front of police vehicles.
"It's not every day that someone drives through a town here and throws out fists full of 20s, 10s and ones into the street," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.
Police believe the suspects contributed to their own capture. Smith said the suspects were trying to block traffic by throwing money.
"I think they were victims of their own success because all the traffic got backed up because so many people were in the roadway," Smith said.
The suspects' vehicle was stopped in the area of Kansas and Vernon avenues at 11:23 a.m. when they were boxed in by a silver truck. Deputies immediately pulled both suspects out of the vehicle.
A large crowd of people surrounded deputies, forcing them to request additional units for crowd control. Residents were clapping and waving at the suspects. The scene was chaotic, and LAPD officers in riot gear moved in to restore order.
"When they were ultimately taken into custody here, we had several hundred people swarmed into the streets and took over the intersection," Smith said.
Deputies were able to arrest one of the at-large suspects in Sylmar. The search continues for a fourth suspect.
Police said some people returned money, but declined to say how many or how much.