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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Santa Clarita

Bank Robbers Elude Authorities

March 03, 2000|SUE FOX

A pair of armed robbers fleeing a Canyon Country bank heist threw handfuls of money from their car windows after dye packs exploded in the getaway vehicle, staining the men and the stolen cash with red ink, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Thursday.

Despite the chaotic burst of dye, the men managed to escape, said Sgt. Steve Wilson of the Santa Clarita sheriff's station. One of the robbers was armed with what appeared to be a small machine gun, he said.

The robbery occurred about 10:15 a.m. Thursday at the Washington Mutual bank at 16520 Soledad Canyon Road, Wilson said. The two men had ordered a security guard and several customers standing outside the bank to come inside, where the robbers stole an undisclosed amount of cash.

Wilson said the packs also contained a type of smoke bomb and an irritant similar to tear gas.

"Witnesses said smoke was just pouring out of the car windows," he said. "These suspects were dyed red, just like the money."

The men, accompanied by a third person traveling in the getaway car, fled in a white Pontiac Grand Am that had been reported stolen in South-Central Los Angeles earlier in the day, Wilson said.

The flurry of cash, tossed onto Soledad Canyon Road near Sand Canyon Road, failed to spark a stampede of passersby.

"Nobody was scrambling for money," he said. "It was obvious to most people that something was very wrong and they weren't going to get involved."

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