An alleged serial bank robber who became familiar to Santa Clarita Valley residents this past summer as the PT Cruiser Bandit pleaded not guilty Monday to nearly a dozen robbery-related charges filed against him.
James Allen Hayes, 55, appeared Monday in U.S. District Court where he was formally charged with 10 counts of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery in connection with an alleged bank robbing spree which began in April and ended with his arrest in Ventura last month.
“A not guilty plea was entered,” Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office, told The Signal Monday.
A trial date for Hayes in front of U.S. District Court Judge Frederick F. Mumm, in downtown Los Angeles, is set to begin on Dec. 17.
According to the 12-page Grand Jury indictment filed against him, Hayes is alleged to have robbed five SCV banks, as well as banks along the coast including Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Maria and Pacific Palisades.
In each of the bank robberies for which he stands accused, Hayes walked calmly up to a teller – wearing some sort of hat and a pair of sunglasses – handed a note to the teller, demanding money and indicating he had a gun, although no firearm was ever seen, walked casually out of the bank, got into a PT Cruiser and got away.
Dubbed locally as the PT Cruiser, FBI agents investigating his string of robberies dubbed him the Seasoned Bandit.
In was revealed in court, however, that Hayes wears many hats – both figuratively and literally.
Aside from the many baseball caps and fedoras the PT Cruiser was seen wearing in bank surveillance images, James Allen Hayes goes by many names.
As the defendant named in the Grand Jury indictment, James Allen Hayes is also known as James Curtis Hayes, aka James Killen, aka Ceaser Killen.
Hayes is also remembered by many as the 35-year-old security guard who won $19 million in a lottery two decades ago.
Early this month, FBI agents – led by FBI Special Agent Ingerd Sotelo and with the help of Los Angeles County Sheriff Department detectives assigned to the Major Crimes Bureau – arrested Hayes as he emerged from the garage of a home in Ventura, capping a five-month investigation covering Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.
SCV banks hit
Local financial Institutions Hayes is alleged to have robbed include:
– Monday June 12: Shortly before 3 p.m., a lone male walked into the bank branch of Wells Fargo near the intersection of Lyons Avenue and Wiley Canyon Road. He gave a note to a teller demanding money and indicating he had a gun, although no gun was seen.
– Tuesday June 27: A couple of minutes before 5 p.m., a lone male walked into the Chase Bank branch on Lyons Avenue at Apple Street. He gave a note to a teller demanding money and indicating he had a gun, although no gun was seen.
Suspected getaway vehicle – PT Cruiser – used by suspected bank robber, the PT Cruiser bandit
– Tuesday July 25: About 5:15 p.m., a lone male entered the Logix Valencia Promenade bank branch on McBean Parkway near Magic Mountain Parkway. He gave a note to a teller demanding money and indicating he had a gun, although no gun was seen.
– Thursday Aug. 10: A couple of minutes after 5 p.m., a lone male walked into the California Credit Union on Magic Mountain Parkway. He gave a note to a teller demanding money and indicating he had a gun, although no gun was seen.
– Monday Aug. 21: About 6 p.m., a long male walked calmly into the Wescom Credit Union on Pico Canyon Road at The Old Road in Stevenson Ranch. He gave a note to a teller demanding money and indicating he had a gun, although no gun was seen.
– Monday Sept. 25: shortly after 4 p.m., a lone man described as in his 60s entered the same Wells Fargo branch he hit on June 1, demanded money and calmly walked out of the bank when he was given no money, got into a PT Cruiser and left.
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