Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bicycle Bandit Robs Mid-State Bank

By Lenny Roberts
After displaying a black semiautomatic handgun, a man suspected of robbing the Mid-State Bank Ojai branch Tuesday morning fled on a blue mountain bike on Maricopa Highway, according to Sheriff’s Sgt. Billy Hester.
According to the report, the suspect approached a teller and demanded cash. The teller complied and gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash.
The man is described as a white male, approximately 25 to 33 years old, 6 feet to 6 feet 5 inches tall with a medium-thin build. He was wearing black-framed sunglasses, a dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery is encouraged to call FBI Special Agent Derrel Craig at 677-7348, or Ventura County Crime Stoppers at 385-TALK.
The bank, most recently known as the Ojai Valley Bank, was the scene of Ojai’s last bank robbery on Dec. 5, 2001 by a man believed to have been linked to a series of robberies in the county. The bank was also robbed in September 1995. In between, on March 31, 2000, the neighboring Washington Mutual branch was robbed by a man who was later shot during a January 2001 police pursuit in Santa Barbara.
In 1995, a Meiners Oaks resident was convicted of a series of Ojai bank robberies after the Wells Fargo Bank and the now-defunct Bank of A. Levy were robbed a total of five times.


Anonymous said...

Too bad you chopped off the top of the dude's head. Since he is probably a local, maybe someone could ID the idiot if we could see his head!!!

Anonymous said...

RE anonymous how many locals are 6'5" and wear rimmed glasses? I am sure that Ojais finest and the FBI are doing ther best, but I am sure you could do better!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the Feds don't want hordes of locals to offer clues as to the identify of the suspect. I don't know why, but this is pretty much how it is, and this is how it was when the old Ojai Valley Bank was robbed at that location more than a decade ago. They will talk to the bank employees, but they are probably not interested in talking to anyone else. They probably have a reason for this, and they don't feel compelled to explain it.

With regard to the photos of the robber, you just have to know that if there are government agencies capable of reading your license plate from 40 miles out in space, they can also get a decent photo of a robber in a bank using a camera that is probably no more than 25 feet from the suspect. They're just not going to allow that photo to be distributed publicly. Again, they do not feel the need to explain their reasoning. Considering that they usually catch the robber, I'm going to guess that their reasoning is probably sound.

Anonymous said...

Banks are usually the ones who spend the least amount of money on there surveillance cameras. The quy was most likley a crack head needing a fix. meth is really getting out of control here in ojai.

Lenny Roberts said...

For the record, the images we published were given to us by the Sheriff's Department. It is safe to assume that those images were given to the Sheriff's Department by the FBI. It is also safe to assume that, for whatever reason, there was no close-up image of the suspect available, or it would have been released to us.