On May 14 at approximately 6:15 p.m., two suspects flagged down a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus at the corner of Ocean and Colorado avenues. After the suspects boarded the bus, the male suspect put 21 cents into the coin collection box, and then he and the female suspect moved towards the seats.
When the bus driver told the suspects they needed to pay the full fare, the male suspect told the driver they would not and refused to get off the bus. The driver called for a supervisor but continued on his route. The driver then stopped at 4th Street and Pico Boulevard so the supervisor could come on board and try to get the suspects to pay their fare. Instead of paying, though, the male suspect demanded a refund.
In order to avoid any further confrontation, the driver offered to give the suspects his own money if they would leave. The driver then opened his bag and started to grab some coins from inside it.As he did, the female suspect slapped his hand and caused him to drop his bag.
As the driver tried to catch his bag, the male suspect also hit his hand, which caused the bag to fall and all the contents to spill out on the floor. The male suspect then grabbed some of the driver’s cash that had fallen out and said he was keeping it.
The driver feared for his safety, so he didn’t confront the suspects any further and instead called the police. Officers arrived shortly afterward and took both suspects into custody. They were later booked at the Santa Monica jail for robbery.
The suspects were identified as Jerome Dwayne Tittle, 21, of Los Angeles, and Erika Sarah Lara, 21, of Los Angeles. Each had bail set at $100,000.