Teens arrested in bank robbery

CITY CENTER — A Torrance man and two Los Angeles boys suspected of robbing a Citizens Business Bank on West Alameda Avenue were arrested Friday in North Hollywood after leading officers on a fender-bending highway chase, police said.

Kenneth Hammond, 19, along with the two boys, age 16 and 17, were booked on robbery and kidnapping charges with one of the boys also being charged with attempted carjacking. They were taken to a juvenile detention facility. Hammond is being held in Burbank Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail with an arraignment scheduled for Tuesday in Burbank Superior Court, police said.

Police withheld the identity of the two boys because of their ages.

As the bank opened about 10 a.m., all three suspects entered the branch at 4100 W. Alameda Ave. and ordered everyone to the floor, Sgt. Robert Quesada said.

They were dressed in brown uniforms similar to the United Parcel Service, police said.

Two of them forced an employee into the bank’s vault and after taking the cash exited and entered their car just as patrol officers were arriving on scene, police said.

At North Pass Avenue officers saw a dye pack explode in a passing vehicle and gave chase to West Olive Avenue and onto Barham Boulevard to the southbound 101 Freeway.

The suspects crashed into an unmarked police car along the way.

They then crashed at Highland Boulevard and fled the scene, with one of them being chased by officers as he ran on the northbound side of the freeway. He tried to carjack a motorist stopped in traffic, but was unsuccessful, police said.

Burbank and Los Angeles police officers established a perimeter and and arrested all three within 30 minutes, Quesada said.

The stolen cash was recovered along with a handgun found near one of the suspects, he added. The suspects were were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries from the accident. One was treated for heat exhaustion, police said.

Because the suspects collided with other cars on the road, police are asking anyone who was hit to call the Burbank Police Department. Investigators are also looking for the attempted carjacking victim on the freeway. Anyone with additional information can call (818) 238-3246.

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