July 22, 2013
A Ventura County deputy district attorney recently stated that three people who were arrested in connection with robbing a Thousand Oaks bank twice had done so to benefit a criminal street gang.
The two men and one woman are accused of robbing the Citibank at 33 N. Moorpark Road on March 23 and then again on July 2. Along with two felony counts each of second-degree robbery, the three have now been charged with felony street terrorism due to their alleged ties to a Long Beach Crips gang.
The deputy D.A. claims that his office found proof that the three had robbed the bank in early July in preparation for something the gang was planning the following day. If convicted on the additional street terrorism charges, the three suspects could be looking at years added on to their potential sentences.
According to the Thousand Oaks Acorn, the July 2 heist was the sixth bank robbery reported in Thousand Oaks in 2013. This is the only robbery so far that has yielded any arrests. The prosecutor claims that gang-related robberies are rare in Ventura County.
The three suspects pleaded not guilty to all charges at an arraignment hearing at Ventura Superior Court. They have also denied that they committed any crime while participating in a street gang.
Under California Penal Code 211, robbery is a felony offense that can be punishable by two to nine years in state prison. However, we are going to look at California's Gang Sentencing Enhancement Law (Penal code 186.22). This law is also known as the STEP Act.
In this case, the suspects have been accused of committing a felony for the benefit of a gang. If convicted on this charge, they face a mandatory prison sentence, in addition and consecutive to the penalties they may receive for the other alleged crimes. Depending on the circumstances, the suspects could be looking at an additional two to 15 years — and possibly 25 years to life in prison.
Obviously, these are very serious charges that can lead to severe penalties. If you are accused of a crime with potential gang affiliation sentencing enhancements, it is essential that you contact the criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Daniel E. Kann. Please call us at (888) 744-7730 or contact us online today. We are dedicated to defending your legal rights.