MIAMI (CBS4)- Three suspected bank robbers are in FBI custody after they led police on a chase that spanned three counties.
The men were wanted for robbing a Bank of America branch in Delray Beach Tuesday morning. They were armed at the time of the robbery, according to police, and that’s where the chase started.“Two armed men covered from head to toe entered the bank,” said Special Agent Michael Leverock of the FBI. “One with an assault rifle, one jumped over the counter and started collecting money. They both fled in a waiting car.”
Chopper 4 picked up the chase shortly before noon in Broward County.
The men, driving a newer model Silver Cadillac, possibly a CTS, were speeding down I-95 into Miami-Dade County. The vehicle could be seen weaving erratically in and out of traffic at an extremely high rate of speed.
A second vehicle, an unmarked police SUV with its hazards flashing, was right behind them much of the way.
The Cadillac did exit I-95 near Opa-Locka where it sped through side streets in an effort to avoid capture. The men eventually drove onto the Gratigny Expressway where they picked up I-75 headed northbound.
At one point, video from Chopper 4 showed the vehicle slow down slightly and a passenger in the vehicle opened his door and threw out a high powered gun onto the road. Police later retrieved that weapon.
A short time later, the suspects pulled over and jumped out of the car near Miami Gardens Drive and I-75, and ran into a nearby neighborhood. With helicopters overhead, the suspects couldn’t hide and two of them were quickly taken into custody.
The third was able to escape capture for a longer period of time, but was eventually taken into custody.
As a precaution two nearby schools, Lawton Chiles Middle and Spanish Lakes Elementary, were placed on precautionary “lock down”. It was lifted at both schools when the third suspect was placed in handcuffs and taken into custody.
The ordeal frightened dozens of neighbors who were kept away from their homes because of a large perimeter.
“Scary,” said Meri Mieres, a neighbor. “It’s crazy, crazy, people are desperate I guess.”
It’s not clear whether any of the men lived in the home to which they ran, but while at the home one of the suspects changed his shirt from a white tank top to a green polo shirt.
Neighbors thought the home had been in foreclosure for awhile, and they thought no one was living there.
FBI evidence techs searched the home, and CBS4 News cameras saw bicycles inside the garage.
Neighbor, Jose Lopez believes they know someone there, pointing out that the neighborhood is difficult to access. He told CBS4’s Natalia Zea, “That’s the only way in and only way out, to come all the way in here you gotta know somebody.”
The men are locked up in Palm Beach County Jail, and are facing federal charges.
Story reported with contributions from CBS4’s Tiffani Helberg.