O.C. cops chase robbery suspect, hostage

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. The suspect was identified as Tracy Seward, a 39-year-old resident of Laguna Hills.

Police said it all began when Seward, wearing body armor, tried to rob a PayDay Loan in Lake Forest at about 10 a.m. He set off the silent alarm, alerting police to the scene.

Deputies arrived as Seward was leaving. He was armed with a handgun and had cash from the store.

Police said Seward grabbed a hostage, a 61-year-old male customer, forced him into his dark blue SUV and took off.

The pursuit lasted about an hour and reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.

"The pursuit was extremely dangerous because there was a light rain falling down," said Jim Amormino from the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

A number of schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution as the pursuit continued.

The driver lead police from the 5 Freeway to surface streets in Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel before the pursuit ended at a commercial complex in Laguna Hills.

"As one can imagine, the hostage was extremely terrified, but I'm happy to say, the hostage was unhurt," Amormino.

The stolen money and the gun were recovered.

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