It isn’t official, but given that the Feds love assigning perp nicknames, authorities could dub four alleged L.A. area bank robbers “the Robin Hood Bandits” any minute now. Everyone else has! Having tossed at least a dozen handfuls of money from their getaway car during a pursuit through South Los Angeles, the designation may stick, too, despite speculation that the tactic was more diversionary than charitable. Video clips show people jumping off sidewalks to grab wafting bills, inevitably blocking police vehicles. If I were to guess, I’d say the bandits knew they were sunk and opted to go out with a good PR move.
Maybe they were returning to their childhood neighborhoods as they circled block after block, money and police trailing behind them. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like they took into account the safety of the people upon whom they were bestowing this grand gesture, and at the end of the pursuit a repeat of Florence and Normandie circa 1992 looked about to erupt – unnerving footage for Anglenos here during the King riots. Will these suspects be charged with additional counts of, say, Mayhem or Disturbing the Peace for starting something that could have turned quite ugly? Or will money out the window endear them to the public — and by extension, to a jury? The pursuit footage has already begun to work its anti-hero magic.
From the LATimes:
LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said he suspects the alleged robbers were trying to get rid of evidence and block traffic by throwing money out the window. “This shows the worst side of human nature,” Smith said. “It’s stolen property, and receiving stolen property is a felony. It’s a sad day to see people scrambling in the street for it.”
Sad day? C’mon Andy, you were on the scene during the riots, and you’re better than to criminalize whole crowds of South L.A. black folks. It’s superior and pious remarks like this that make it harder for your officers to connect with the public.
(Yes, we know it’s not the public’s money that was tossed from the Volvo, but you’re an accomplished Media Relations Officer. Don’t make us ask if that would’ve been your condemnation had the air unit’s footage showed Beverly Hills residents picking up a few bucks…)
Sorry, end of digression. Back to the alleged anti-heros…
In due course, FBI agents will probably include some sort of Robin Hood moniker in their statement, press release or federal booking. And it will be interesting to follow this story of these alleged Rollin’ 40s Crips gang members in the media to see where it goes. At a time when your average American Joe is so financially beleaguered, it’s likely the Robin Hood gesture and the celebratory dancing that went on in the street at the site of the suspect’s apprehension will be remembered long after the robbery itself has been forgotten.
Elsewhere – an on-air guest of AM 640 KFI’s “John and Ken” show described a Spanish language radio station that had encouraged it’s listeners to run outside during the high speed chase to grab whatever airborne loot they could while they had a chance. Though John And Ken were protective of the source of the on-air comments during their afternoon broadcast, I wonder if that Spanish language station will have its license suspended if Commander Andy hears about it?
Oh, the Americana that surrounds these events when they’re thrust into the spotlight on a hot day!