Holdup Suspect, 62, Is Still in Critical Condition

Times Staff Writer

A 62-year-old man shot by police as he allegedly held up an Irvine bank remained in critical condition Sunday.

Irvine police identified the suspect as James Clifford Ballentyne of Anaheim. Ballentyne was shot in the arm, both legs and his side as he allegedly threatened a policeman with a gun following a holdup Friday afternoon at a Crocker National Bank branch at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Campus Drive.

Ballentyne, who was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, was not identified immediately after the incident.

According to police, a man who looked to be in his 60s walked into the bank at 3:30 p.m. Friday and demanded to see a bank official. The man then told Don Finer, assistant vice president, that he was armed and wanted money.

Bank employees gave him about $4,000. The robber, who carried a .45-caliber pistol, then ordered Finer to accompany him out of the bank, police said.


Irvine police had surrounded the bank in the meantime and they ordered the robber to surrender. Police said that instead he pulled his gun and threatened a police officer.

Delphia Ballentyne, the arrested man’s wife, on Sunday said her husband had no record of arrests and that his alleged holdup of the bank was inexplicable. She said they had no pressing money problems “that I know of” and that her husband had said nothing about the bank.

“The first I knew of this thing was Friday afternoon when Irvine police came by here (the couple’s mobile home),” she said.

Ballentyne said her husband had suffered a stroke in February and had retired in May from his job with TRW at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino.

“This is such a shock to me,” she said. “I just came back from the hospital (Western Medical Center) today and they say he has only a 20% chance of surviving.”