Yes, yesterday's crazy car chase probably put many Angelenos in danger, and it likely cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in law enforcement resources.
But let's be honest. It also entertained the hell out of us. It likely created revenue for local media, including TMZ, which found its tour bus caught in the middle of yesterday afternoon's action.
A group of supporters has established a crowdfunding page to “bail out the L.A. drop-top bandits.” The Indiegogo page calls the suspects “hood heroes” and promises that, if they get out of jail, they'll record a hip-hop album and give “shoutouts” to those who give just $5 to the cause.
Those who donate $20 are promised “hood hero T-shirts,” and $40 is supposed to get you a hoodie.
“Are you tired of today's wannabe gangster rappers and hip-hop artists,” the appeal says. “Don't call it a comeback because these OGs live the life. Help us raise dough to get these artists out of jail and into a record deal. Let's make hip-hop great again. Donate now!”
The pursuit started after Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputies responded to a report of a burglary in the 12300 block of Charlwood Street in Cerritos about 1:24 p.m. yesterday, the department said in a statement.
A sheriff's helicopter spotted a car meeting the description of one used by the suspects on the westbound 91 freeway, deputies said. It soon was headed north on the 710 freeway.
The air unit tracked the blue Ford Mustang convertible, the California Highway Patrol joined in, and the Los Angeles Police Department took over as the chase ended up on L.A. surface streets.
The details were perhaps best viewed on video: The chase went into Laurel Canyon, the Hollywood Hills, Hollywood, South L.A. and more. The driver put the top mostly down, in the rain, and soldiered on after at least one tire was losing air and the car sustained damage from a collision during the pursuit.
The man behind the wheel spun the car around on the wet streets, doing doughnuts to the amazement of the news choppers above. The passenger sat on the door sill and made gestures at motorists. It appears that words were even exchanged with cops. At one point an empty TMZ tour bus cut off the suspects, but the driver said it was an inadvertent move as he innocently changed lanes.
A “news media helicopter was able to capture the suspects driving on the wrong side of the road, speeding, colliding into another vehicle, and continually putting the public in danger,” the Sheriff's Department stated.
The convertible pulled over at East 51st Street and Central Avenue in South L.A. shortly before 3:30 p.m. Two men in the Mustang were greeted as heroes — with hugs and handshakes. They hung around for what seemed to be a long time, the driver kicking back on the hood of the car, until sheriff's deputies arrived and handcuffed them without drama.
Sheriff's officials say they were jailed on suspicion of burglary and “many other” possible charges.
That bail amount might end up being quite high. By late last night supporters had raised … $0.