Two 16-year-old boys suspected in a series of robberies in the San Fernando Valley, including one in which they allegedly wore uniforms similar to those of police officers to rob a savings and loan, were arrested in Woodland Hills Thursday after a high-speed car chase, Los Angeles police said.
Detective Ed Pikor said the teen-agers, whose names were not released because of their age, were being held at Sylmar Juvenile Hall on suspicion of robbery.
Pikor said the youths are suspected of robbing an Encino Savings & Loan branch in Encino of about $5,000 on May 23. He said police also believe that the two committed the December robbery of a Barclays Bank in Encino, in which about $2,000 was taken.
Crimes ‘Awfully Sophisticated’
The methods used in the robberies have led investigators to suspect that the teen-agers were taught by an experienced criminal, Pikor said. The crimes “were awfully sophisticated for 16-year-olds to commit,” he said.
In the savings and loan robbery, the pair wore blue uniforms and hats similar to those used by Los Angeles police officers, Pikor said. The shoulder patches on the uniforms were actual Los Angeles police patches sold at uniform stores, he said.
The day before that robbery, Pikor said, the youths confronted two women outside a fast-food restaurant in Woodland Hills. They threatened the women with a .38-caliber handgun and an electrical stun device, took the keys to the automobile the women were using and drove off, the detective said.
Undone by Officer
Pikor said the youths were tripped up Thursday when a police officer in Woodland Hills spotted them in a car that had been reported stolen Wednesday. When the officer attempted to stop the car, the youths sped away, Pikor said.
The officer gave chase, trapping the car where Corbin Avenue dead-ends, Pikor said. The two suspects left the car and ran into a canyon, but police dogs found them soon afterward hiding under a tree, he said.
The uniforms used in the savings and loan robbery, along with other evidence, were found in a car belonging to one of the suspects, Pikor said.
Other Robberies Suspected
Uniforms were not used in the earlier bank robbery, he said.
Pikor said the youths are also suspected of two street robberies. In both incidents, the youths threatened their victims with a gun and the stun device and took their cars, he said.
The two are also being investigated in connection with a series of other robberies in the West Valley, Pikor said.