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July 25
1915 - Pioneer Juan Batista Suraco buried in a family graveyard, currently unmarked, in Bouquet Canyon near Benz Road [story]
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Facing up to 80 years in prison after pleading guilty to robbing four banks including two in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2017, James Allen Hayes received a 33-month sentence Thursday.

“Hayes was sentenced to 33 months and ordered to pay $39,424 in restitution” to the four banks, Thom Mrozek, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman, said Friday morning.

In a March plea agreement, Hayes, 55, whose age prompted authorities to nickname him the “Seasoned Bandit,” had formally pleaded guilty to four counts of bank robbery, and admitted to a total of 11 robberies or attempted robberies.

The government’s sentencing position, filed with the court on May 21, had recommended a “low-end” 57-month sentence with three years of supervised release, a mandatory special assessment of $400, and restitution amounting to $39,424 to the four banks.

The government noted the seriousness of the crimes, but also took into account Hayes had “no meaningful prior criminal history,” and was a methamphetamine and heroin addict at the time of arrest in October 2017.

Also known as James Curtis Hayes, the Ventura resident was a former security guard who won the lottery.

Here’s the background from SCVNews.com’s previous coverage:

Bank surveillance photographs made public during the robbery spree showed Hayes wearing casual clothing, a hat and sunglasses. The moniker “Seasoned Bandit” was assigned based on the bandit’s suspected age and grey-white hair. He was also dubbed the “PT Cruiser bandit” because witnesses saw the suspect driving a gold PT Cruiser.

During the robberies, Hayes passed a note in which he demanded cash and threatened to pull out a gun if the teller did not comply with his demands. However, he never displayed a weapon.

Admitted Seasoned Bandit James Allen Hayes

Admitted Seasoned Bandit James Allen Hayes

Hayes stole a combined $39,424 from 11 banks during his spree, according to the plea agreement:

* Montecito Bank & Trust, April 27, 2017, Carpinteria

* Union Bank, May 24, 2017, Carpinteria

* Wells Fargo, June 12, 2017, Newhall

* Chase Bank, June 27, 2017, Newhall

* Golden 1, July 7, 2017, Goleta

* Logix FCU, July 25, 2017, Valencia

* California Credit Union, August 8, 2017, Valencia

Admitted Seasoned Bandit James Allen Hayes

Admitted Seasoned Bandit James Allen Hayes

* Wescom Credit Union, August 21, 2017, Stevenson Ranch

* Coast Hills Credit Union, September 6, 2017, Santa Maria

* Wells Fargo, September 25, 2017, Newhall

* A bank in Pacific Palisades

The investigation was conducted by law enforcement partners with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; the Santa Maria Police Department; and the FBI.

Hayes was arrested in Ventura on a tip from a citizen on October 2, and charged in federal court with 11 counts of robbery involving 10 banks between April 27 and September 26, 2017. He pleaded not guilty when arraigned on October 23.

In his plea deal, Hayes admitted to robbing the Union Bank in Carpinteria, the Wells Fargo in Newhall, the Logix branch in Valencia, and the Coast Hills Credit Union in Santa Maria.

For each of the four counts, Hayes faces 20 years’ imprisonment; a three-year period of supervised release; a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greatest; and a mandatory special assessment of $100, per the agreement.

Hayes is also required to “pay full restitution” to the four banks, amounting to $39,424. His PT Cruiser and $525 in assets are to be applied to restitution, per the agreement.

Hayes won $18 million in the California Lottery in 1998, which he split with his wife. He eventually developed a $1,000-per-week heroin habit, and after spending his share of the winnings, turned to robbing banks.

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15 Comments

  1. Thats it? And 12 for good behavior

  2. Mike Curtis says:

    33 months for bank robbery? Holy crap, looks like I found my new plan B

  3. Robyn Tevere says:

    When social security fails……

  4. Robbing a bank 2.5 years. But Cocaine possession 10 years

  5. Wayyyyy too little time.

  6. Ashley Swann says:

    WELLLLLLL….OKAAAAAYYYYYY……..

  7. Gary Sande says:

    Wow! A rediculously light sentence for robbing or attempting to rob so many banks. I want his lawyer! Something smells with this plea agreement. I like how they noted that they seized $525 in cash assets (and his likely worn out PT Cruizer). I wonder how he’ll ever pay the rest of the restitution! He got off amazingly light in my opinion!

  8. Tribico says:

    Learn more.

  9. Jack says:

    He just won the lottery again: free room and board for 33 months. Note this is Federal prison time, and NOT state and county. They do not trim time off for overcrowding and lack of resources. Stick a needle in his arm.

  10. David Green says:

    Amazing. Simply amazing

  11. Janet Eminian says:

    What???? NOT okay!

  12. Ridiculous sentence!

  13. Mike Jackman says:

    I had no idea that Jim was pulling these robberies. I remember when he bought the PT Crusier, he had all these colorful l.e.d. lights running everywhere inside the car, plus window tint, and he sure did love pinstriping. He had the ability to take regular cars and make them look really good. Yes, we had some great times, and he was a great manager at the hotel, right up to the very minute the place was set on fire by that nut in the room upstairs on the south-east corner of the building. (Google “fire at Leewood Hotel Ventura, Ca) And no, I don’t know anything about the “grenade” found in my I mean one of the rooms. Jim’s wife, Stephanie, on the other hand, is a scumbag liar who loved to spread rumours on the tenants that she didn’t like. Reminds me of junior high school. She used to work for Wells Fargo, and I’ve always wondered if she was involved in the robberys. She lost all of her teeth due to her addiction to meth, and owned a small glass pipe that she referred to as “the flute.” She used to be very pretty, but now looks like a crazy, screaming hag banshee in the night. The year 2017 was a rough year, starting with the Leewood fire on 1-3-17, but I never thought the year would end with Jim on the way to Federal prison, and Stephanie still playing her “flute” in the dark…

  14. John Bole says:

    Hayes will probably be housed in the federal pen at Victorville. I hope he likes Sikh Hindu’s. That pen is full of them. “Sikh, and ye shall find.”

  15. Ak47 says:

    He is here at Salvation Army rehab in la

Leave a Comment


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