Man Sought in Bank Robbery Attempt

Federal agents are combing the county for a man who attempted to rob a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Oxnard on Thursday morning, authorities said.

Oxnard police responded to a silent alarm around 11 a.m. at the bank in the 400 block of Esplanade Drive, said Senior Officer John Ahearn. The case has been turned over to the FBI, he said.

The robber, described as a clean-shaven Latino male in his mid-20s, 5 feet, 7 inches and 160 pounds, entered the bank and handed a note to a teller, which stated he had a gun and wanted cash, said Gary Auer, FBI supervisory special agent.

The teller punched a silent alarm button, and the robber ran from the building, Auer said.

The robber, wearing a dark blue baseball cap, a dark blue poncho-style coat and blue jeans, never spoke to the teller and did not display a gun. No one was injured and no money was taken.

The robber was last seen running toward the parking lot of the nearby Esplanade Tower building.

FBI agents do not believe the man is connected with any previous bank robbery attempts in Ventura County, Auer said. Video images from the bank's security cameras were scheduled to be examined today.

Thursday's incident is the second robbery attempt involving a Ventura County bank this year.

Ernest Ricardez, 34, of Santa Paula was arrested Feb. 1 by federal agents in connection with four bank robberies in the county dating to Nov. 17, 1997.

Ricardez's last job was a Jan. 29 robbery at the downtown Bank of America branch in Ventura, authorities say. In that incident, a teller stuffed a dye pack into the money bag given to the robber. When the pack exploded, the robber dropped the bag and fled.

Ricardez was arrested three days later.

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