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VENTURA : Armed Robberies Double in December

Twice the number of armed robberies have occurred this month in Ventura compared to the previous two months, but police say the figures are nothing unusual for the holiday season.

Since Dec. 1 there have been 16 robberies in Ventura, almost all on the city’s east end. No arrests have been made. Last year, there were 19 robberies in December and a total of 182 for the year. So far, there have been 136 robberies in 1993.

Ventura’s most recent robbery occurred about 9 p.m. Monday when an armed man walked into the Payless Shoe Source store on Telephone Road, demanded cash and fled on foot with the money. Police say that robbery does not appear to be related to an earlier string of seven holdups in which a man in his 20s targeted fast-food restaurants, pizza delivery places, a sandwich shop and a gas station.

Ventura Police Detective Kevin Williams said the robber appears to be an experienced criminal, hitting businesses just before closing time, often when a lone clerk is on duty. Wearing a dark ski mask and carrying a handgun, he typically stays in the businesses less than a minute. In several cases, he brought his own bag to hold the money.

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Other robberies this month included one at a Motel 6 and an early morning holdup at a Taco Bell in which two robbers herded employees into the kitchen, bound their hands and then emptied the cash registers.


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