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East Ventura County Edition

THOUSAND OAKS : Man Pleads Not Guilty to Kidnaping

March 10, 1994|JEFF McDONALD

A Norwalk man arrested on suspicion of locking a woman in his car and driving her around Thousand Oaks for 90 minutes to discuss their failed relationship pleaded not guilty to kidnaping Wednesday, officials said.

A pretrial conference is scheduled May 13 in Ventura County Superior Court for Thomas Ely Robles, 44, who allegedly kidnaped Keely Okada from the steps of her church in December.

Okada, 35, told east valley sheriff's detectives that Robles forced her into a car Dec. 17 as she was leaving church, handcuffed her inside the vehicle and talked about their former relationship. Robles released Okada more than an hour later, but called her again about 10 days later, asking to meet her, Okada said.

But she reported the incident to investigators, who staked out the restaurant where the two had arranged to meet. Robles was arrested Dec. 28 without incident and was later charged with kidnaping with the special allegation that he used a gun during the crime.

He also put his hand over Okada's mouth to prevent her from screaming, the woman told police. Defense attorney Stephen L. Mitnick on Wednesday refused to comment on the case.

The couple had lived together for about six months before she broke up with him in September, Okada told investigators.

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