by Cindy Summers
Police reports are provided to us by the Ventura Police Department and are not the opinions of the Ventura Breeze. All suspects mentioned are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Armed Robbery with Arrests
On December 7, at 1am, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a call from two victims, indicating that they had been robbed at knifepoint. Ventura Police Department patrol officers responded to assist the victims and learned the following. The victims were walking together in the area of Olive Street and Mission Avenue, when they were approached by two male suspects. One of the suspects threatened the victims with a knife and demanded the victims’ property. Fearing for their lives, the victims handed over their property, which included a wallet and a set of keys. The suspects then entered a white Nissan Altima and fled the area.
As patrol officers responded to assist the victims, another VPD patrol officer observed a white Nissan Altima traveling at a high rate of speed on the southbound 101 Freeway near Victoria Avenue. The officer initiated a traffic stop on that vehicle, believing that it may be the suspect vehicle. There were two occupants in the vehicle, who were later identified as 21 year old Oxnard resident Francisco Banda and 20 year old Oxnard resident Alejandro Araujo. The victims were able to positively identify Banda and Araujo as the suspects who had robbed them. During a search of the suspect vehicle, officers found property belonging to the victims. It was later determined that the weapon brandished by the suspects was likely a screwdriver.
Both suspects were placed under arrest for robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime. Both were lodged at the Ventura County Jail.
On December 10, at 5:40am, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a 911 call from the victim reporting a suspect with a knife had just robbed him.
During the investigation officers learned that Garcia was sleeping on the train platform when he awoke and noticed his property was missing. Garcia noticed 19 year old Ventura resident Dustin Puckett walking away with his property. Garcia confronted Puckett who armed himself with a knife threatening Garcia. Puckett then fled east on Harbor Blvd.
Officers checked the area and located Puckett walking on Harbor in front of the Crown plaza. Puckett was positively identified by Garcia, and was in possession of Garcia’s property.
Garcia was booked at the Ventura County Jail for Robbery, Possession of drug paraphernalia, and two outstanding arrest warrants.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Ventura Police Department at 339-4309.
Strong Armed Robbery
On December 12, at approximately 12:45pm, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a 911 call of a strong armed robbery that had just occurred at Regency Theater, 1440 Eastman Ave. It was reported the suspects fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money in a silver sedan, possibly a Ford, with paper plates.
During the investigation, officers learned that a theater employee had just returned from making a deposit at a local bank. He was walking in the parking lot of the theater when the suspect vehicle approached him. The suspect, a Black male in his 20’s wearing a hospital mask and dark hooded sweatshirt exited the vehicle and tackled the employee. The employee was holding a deposit bag, and a struggle ensued over the bag. The second suspect, a Black male in his 20’s wearing a green hooded sweatshirt, had been driving the suspect vehicle also exited the vehicle and tried to forcefully take the deposit bag from the employee. The employee released the bag, at which time both suspects go back into the vehicle and fled the area.
Officers checked the area, but were unable to locate the suspect vehicle. The employee sustained very minor injuries as a result of the incident.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Ventura Police Department at 339-4488. An anonymous tip can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.
Felony Discharge of a Firearm
On December 12, at approximately 10:30pm, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a 911 call of shots being fired on the promenade near the Harbor Blvd. parking structure. It was reported several bystanders had disarmed the suspect and were trying to detain him. Prior to units arriving on scene the suspect, later identified as 45 year old vagrant John Eldridge, was able to leave the area on foot. He was located by officers near the pier and detained.
During the investigation officers determined that Eldridge and several other vagrants were gathered on the promenade when they got into a verbal argument. At one point, Eldridge removed a firearm from his waistband and fired two rounds into the air. The other vagrants involved in the altercation disarmed Eldridge and tried to physically detain him. Eldridge was able to break free and left the area on foot. He was not able to regain possession of the firearm.
At the conclusion of the investigation, Eldridge was arrested for felony discharging of a firearm in public. He was transported to VCMC for treatment of injuries he sustained during the physical altercation and later booked at the Ventura County Jail.
No one else was injured as a result of the incident.