Squad cars with lights flashing were sent to the wrong bank from the wrong police department Monday, a foul-up during a robbery that authorities attributed to Orange County's 911 emergency telephone system.
No one was injured and two suspects were arrested later in the day, but not before Buena Park police "ran around for about 10 minutes looking for a bank robbery that never existed," a spokesman said.
"I've never run into this before," said Anaheim Sgt. John Harradon when asked to explain the mix-up that sent the first call reporting the Anaheim robbery to Buena Park police.
Michael Runzler, a Pacific Bell spokesman, said the company will investigate the incident, in which an employee of the Security Pacific National Bank branch at 1663 W. Crescent Ave. called the 911 number about 3 p.m. to report an armed robbery and was connected with Buena Park police.
While no one was sure what caused the mix-up, Buena Park police were dispatched to the Security Pacific branch at 8061 Stanton Ave. in Buena Park.
When they arrived at the bank, the officers got a bunch of odd stares, said Buena Park police spokesman Terry Branum.
"Their tellers said, 'We don't know what you're looking for. We weren't robbed,' " Branum said.
Hot on the trail, the officers checked across the street at a Great Western Savings, "but they gave us the same answer," Branum said.
In fact, said a somewhat embarrassed Branum, for about 10 minutes Buena Park officers diligently "ran around looking for a bank robbery that never existed."
At least, not in Buena Park.
Meanwhile, at the real bank robbery, five miles away in west Anaheim, a second caller using the 911 system was linked to the Anaheim Police Department.
Harradon said witnesses gave police a license number of the suspected getaway van. According to police, the van was registered to an Anaheim man. The suspects' identities, however, were not immediately known.
Police in both cities said it was fortunate the emergency system "worked the way it should" the second time.