'Here come 3 guys popping out': Robbery suspects captured climbing out of manhole

Three of the suspects used the city's storm drain system in an attempt to escape officers. Unfortunately for them, their freedom didn't last long -- an officer spotted them climbing out of this manhole.
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Police say five teens are in custody following a weekend-long crime spree that culminated in a chase in the streets and underground tunnels near the Citadel Mall.

CSPD spokesperson Lt. Howard Black says the suspects were involved in a series of robberies and carjackings starting Friday night into early Sunday morning. Police got a break in the case Sunday when an officer spotted a vehicle linked to the crimes.

"Officers had information on some suspected stolen vehicles that some of these bandits were in," Black said. "As officers were on routine patrol, an officer observed one of the vehicles that they thought was occupied by some of our suspects."

A car chase started, during which officers saw a second car connected to the spree.

"They then additionally went after the second car, in which bailed out of that car. So we had two separate foot pursuits occurring with multiple individuals," Black said.

The police department sent an alert just before 7 Sunday morning urging people in the area of Platte and Chelton to stay inside while officers searched the area:

"You are asked to stay indoors; please lock and stay away from windows and doors. Please stay out of the immediate area until further notice. CSPD will send an all-clear message when appropriate. Officers are looking for two males and one female wearing dark colored clothing. They are considered armed and dangerous. Police K9 units will be deploying dogs in the area."

Officers fanned out across a wide area looking for the robbers:


The manhunt went below ground at one point when three of the suspects climbed into the city storm drain. The teens popped out of a manhole at the Citadel Mall, where officers were waiting.

"I think it was a tactical officer, was driving by and all of a sudden a manhole comes up out of the ground and here comes three guys popping out," Black said.

Two other people believed to be linked to the weekend spree were also taken into custody in the area, as well as a girl with a gunshot wound. The girl was later cleared of any involvement with the carjackings and robberies. It's still unclear how she was shot; police said she was not cooperating with investigators.

"We have a total of five individuals that now are in custody related to the robberies and carjackings. While officers were in foot pursuit, there were two other individuals that were in the area that took off running from the police. They had nothing to do with the original call, but they had warrants that were outstanding from other incidents. Officers have both of them in custody as well.”

One officer sustained minor injuries trying to follow the suspects into the tunnels.