Two men were behind bars today in connection with a smash-and-grab robbery at a store inside , while authorities continue the search for two others who eluded capture.
The names of those arrested were still not available today, 24 hours after the jewelry store heist at the mall and sheriff's officials still had not provided a description of the fourth suspect.
There was also no word on whether any of the stolen items have been recovered, though sheriff's deputies did get the getaway vehicle and its driver, according to a captain.
The robbery occurred just after noon Saturday while the center was packed with crowds of weekend and Mother's Day shoppers.
The masked men entered the store, smashed the glass on some jewelry cases and grabbed items before running out, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said.
The commotion inside the popular shopping center triggered a flurry of tweets and Facebook posts from patrons at the mall.
"I was at Red Robin and people started running out of the mall cuz of gunshots ... I'm freaking out!!" said Maria, a Gahr High School student, on her Facebook page.
Others reported a slew of confused and panicked shoppers running toward the nearby department store during the robbery and subsequent flight of the theives.
Although some shoppers reported hearing gunshots, Parker said that no shots were fired during or after the heist. Others at the mall later said the glass breaking in the shop could have sounded like gunshots.
After the robbery, the thieves jumped into a waiting vehicle outside the front entrance as deputies were arriving, prompting a vehicle pursuit, sheriff's officials said.
Following a short pursuit, several of the suspects bolted when the car stopped near Park Street and Bellflower Boulevard in Bellflower, Parker said.
The driver took off, sideswiping several vehicles near 91st Street and Bellflower -- in the area of the westbound Artesia (91) Freeway -- before he was stopped and arrested near Rosecrans and Atlantic avenues in East Compton, according to sheriff's officials.
One of the suspects who ran off was quickly caught, while another ran into a residential neighborhood, sheriff's officials reported.
Deputies cordoned off the area and brought in police dogs to search for suspects, Parker said.
Residents were cautiooned to remain inside their locked homes during the search operation.
The operation was suspended about 4 p.m., leaving two suspects at large, officials said.
The names of the two individuals who were taken into custody were not immediately released.
Sheriff's officials initially thought that three people were involved in the robbery, but investigators later determined there were four.
"Three suspects entered the jewelry store while a fourth suspect waited outside in the vehicle,'' read a statement released by sheriff's officials..
The suspect last seen in Bellflower was described as black, clean-shaven and in his early 20s. He is about 6 feet tall, weighs about 175 pounds, and wore a blue sweatshirt and blue sweat pants, according to the Sheriff's Department.
A description of the fourth suspect, who is also black, was not available today.
Anyone with information on the heist or the suspects was asked to call the Sheriff Department's Cerritos Station at (562) 860-0044.
Businesses remained opened at the mall following the robbery, although Ben Bridge was immediately closed and cordoned off to allow investigators to probe the crime.
Hours after the incident, a mall security guard stood in front of the shuttered business located in a corner space across from -- another jewelry store inside the mall that is even closer to the entrance the suspects used to flee.
Police cruisers and news vans took up parking outside the entrance, prompting questions from curious shoppers.
"What's going on here? Why is the news here?" an arriving shopper asked aloud after spotting the five patrol cars parked in front of the mall. "Nothing bad ever happens in Cerritos."
According to Los Cerritos Center's website, the mall has more than 180 stores and restaurants including ; ; ; ; , ; ; the ; and an 86,000-square-sfoot department store.