I TEAM: exclusive police chopper video after crime spree

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CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained exclusive video from the Cleveland Police helicopter showing how officers caught suspected bank robbers and got justice for a senior citizen carjacked in her own driveway.

The chase happened last month, and the video has just been released to the I TEAM.

Police on the city’s northeast side chased a car on the ground and from the air. Police believed the men inside the car had been involved in two bank robberies. Investigators found out later the car had been taken from a 69-year-old woman in Cleveland Heights while she was in her driveway.

The chopper video shows the robbery suspects crashed and then jumped out of the car running. But the helicopter saw where they went and told officers on the ground. The video shows the men tried to hide in a group of buildings, climb a fence to get away and more. At one point, you can see an officer making an arrest at gunpoint.

In the end, four suspects were arrested. That carjacking victim - relieved. She said, "Hallelujah for the police, OK?” She described how the carjacking happened. She told us, “I grabbed the door, and there was this strange man in the car. What are you doing? He stomped on the gas, and it threw me back."

We found investigators are still sorting everything out. No charges filed yet against those guys arrested. The FBI says this is still under investigation. And those bank robbers could be to blame for more.

You can often hear Cleveland patrol officers asking dispatchers if a police chopper is flying. Often, there is not one in the air. Budget and staffing restraints keep the police aviation unit from flying more often than it does. But this case shows the impact a police helicopter can have in a fast-changing situation.

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