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Reward: Wells Fargo Bank takeover robbers linked to other bank jobs

February 23, 2005
Santa Paula News

Law enforcement authorities are searching for a truck believed to be a getaway vehicle used in a string of recent bank robberies inside Ventura County supermarkets, including the January 6 robbery of the Wells Fargo branch in Santa Paula.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesLaw enforcement authorities are searching for a truck believed to be a getaway vehicle used in a string of recent bank robberies inside Ventura County supermarkets, including the January 6 robbery of the Wells Fargo branch in Santa Paula. The truck, believed to be a shadow gray Ford 150 SuperCrew with a specialty cover over the bed, was seen by witnesses at two of four takeover supermarket bank robberies over the last few months.The second such robbery occurred in Santa Paula on January 6 inside Vons supermarket when three men, two armed with handguns, pulled off a dramatic heist and fled after threatening a security guard and bank personnel.According to witnesses, three male subjects, at least two with handguns, entered the market and took over the bank, one suspect holding a security guard at gunpoint during the takeover. Another gunmen jumped over the Wells Fargo Bank counter into the employee area and at gunpoint ordered the bank employees to turnover the cash. Bank employees complied with the demand, and after collecting an undetermined amount of cash the three suspects ran from the bank area and out of the market. The suspects fled to what was described as a white pickup truck in the Vons parking lot, and fled the area.
In all, three Wells Fargo branches inside Vons supermarkets and one Downey Savings branch inside a Ralphs have been robbed at gunpoint since December 20, where a Ventura supermarket bank was targeted. The latest robbery occurred February 17 at a Wells Fargo branch inside a Vons supermarket in Camarillo.Wells Fargo Bank is offering a $35,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and a conviction, and is installing bullet-proof barriers in its supermarket branches including Santa Paula.The suspects have included three men in their early to mid-20s to mid-30s wearing ball caps, baggy clothes and jackets. The suspects who robbed the Santa Paula Wells Fargo branch were described only as two Hispanic males and a black male. During the Camarillo bank heist robbers even took cash from a Vons register.The FBI is working with local police, sheriffs and Wells Fargo security personnel on the series of robberies. Anyone with information on the robberies can contact the SPPD at 525-4474, the VCSD at 654-2312, or the FBIs county office at 642-3995.