On Saturday, January 30th, an alleged armed robbery took place in a mall parking lot. According to the Ventura police, the crime took place in the parking lot of the Pacific View Mall near the Target store. According to reports, the crime took place when a young man believed to be in his 20s and wearing a red hoodie walked up to the victim, brandished his firearm, and demanded she hand over her property. Once the suspect got it, he ran off to a black sedan that took off toward Main Street.

The police were unable to find the suspect and are asking the public’s help in identifying him. Anyone with information should contact the Ventura Police Department at 805-339-4444.

Robbery is covered under California Penal Code 211 PC and is defined as the felonies taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his or her possession or immediate presence, against their will, accomplished by means of force or fear.

It’s the last part, “by means of force or fear,” that really separates robbery apart from other theft-related crimes. Burglary, for example, does not require that anything is stolen, nor that the suspect intends to steal anything. Petty theft (and even grand theft) does not require that someone use force or fear to take possession of anything. Only robbery requires these two factors.

Robbery can be charged as either first-degree or second-degree robbery depending on the circumstances of the case. The potential penalties for first-degree robbery (when a victim is a person) include felony probation, three, four, or six years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Second-degree robbery charges are similar, but inclide two, three, or five years in state prison instead.

Since the suspect used a firearm during the commission of the crime, they stand to face substantially harsher penalties due to California’s anti-gun laws.