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The Region

2 Banks Robbed in Ventura County

No one is injured as two different bandits strike branches of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust in Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

December 25, 2003|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

Two Santa Barbara Bank & Trust branches in Ventura County were robbed on Christmas Eve within hours of each other.

A man walked into the branch in the 2300 block of North Oxnard Boulevard in Oxnard about 10 a.m. and, without a visible weapon, ordered everyone onto the floor.

The suspect "simulated that he had a weapon" before taking an undisclosed amount of cash, said FBI Special Agent Leane Blevins.

He was described as 25 to 30, between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 8, about 175 pounds, and dressed in a dark hooded sweat jacket and dark pants.

About 1:20 p.m., the branch in the 500 block of West Channel Islands Boulevard in Port Hueneme was robbed by a man who handed the teller a note demanding money.

"As opposed to the first robbery, it was a low-key event," Blevins said.

After leaving, the man was seen getting into a green vehicle.

The thief was described as about 20 years old, 5 feet 8 and 150 pounds, wearing sunglasses, a black baseball cap, a blue hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

Santa Barbara Bank & Trust has 10 of its 41 branches in Ventura County, according to bank spokeswoman Deborah Whiteley. Because there were no injuries during the holdups, she said, the Port Hueneme and Oxnard branches are expected to reopen at 9 a.m. Friday.

Despite somewhat similar physical descriptions, Blevins said the robbers' styles were different and that the second thief may have robbed a Navy Federal Credit Union branch in the 500 block of West Channel Islands Boulevard in Port Hueneme on Dec. 19. That robber also wore sunglasses and a baseball cap.

These were the 15th and 16th bank robberies in the county in 2003. Last year, there were 21.

Blevins, who has worked in the FBI's Ventura office seven years, said she "can't remember once when we've had two bank robberies on Christmas Eve."

Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact the Oxnard Police Department's crime tip line at 486-8362, the Port Hueneme Police Department at 986-6530 or the Ventura FBI office at 642-3995.

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