Police were called at 5.05pm on Saturday (March 13) by a member of the public who saw three men behaving suspiciously in Chichester Place, Brighton.
The three men made off at speed in a white Transit van, according to police.
Officers sighted the vehicle heading east on the A27 towards Polegate.
Police deployed a stop stick on Barnhorn Road, Bexhill, causing one of the tyres to deflate.
The van continued to Sidley Recreation Ground, where the occupants decamped, a police spokesman said.
Officers carried out an extensive area search, according to police, and were supported by the National Police Air Service helicopter, but the suspects were not traced.
Enquiries are now ongoing and anyone with any information is asked to contact police online or by calling 101 quoting serial 982 of 13/03.