LOCAL : 2 Compton Men Sentenced in Holdup of 22 at Van Nuys Bar

From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports

Two men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms today for their roles in a holdup in which 22 patrons at a Van Nuys bar were robbed and held hostage.

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Judith Meisels Ashmann sentenced Otis Tooks, 31, of Compton to 35 years in prison, and Arthur Taylor, 24, also of Compton, to 24 years for the March 14 robbery at the Nice 'N' Easy Bar.

Tooks received the maximum term and Taylor somewhat less for the crimes, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Dver, who prosecuted them. Dver said Tooks received the longer sentence because of prior criminal convictions.

A jury last month deliberated less than a day before finding the two men and another man, Albert G. Sutton, guilty of 14 counts of robbery in the holdup.

Sentencing for Sutton, 24, of San Dimas was postponed until Oct. 10 because his attorney was ill.

The three men, armed with semiautomatic handguns and rifles, entered the bar at 7214 Sepulveda Blvd. about 7:30 p.m. They herded the bar's employees and customers onto the dance floor, Dver said.

While Tooks held the patrons at gunpoint and Sutton kept a lookout, Taylor ordered everyone to turn over their money and jewelry, threatening some victims with their lives, Dver said. One patron managed to sneak out and call police, who surrounded the bar, the prosecutor said.

The three men were apprehended as they tried to flee through a roof exit, dropping money and jewelry as they went, Dver added.

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