Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Robbery

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On May 20, 2015, Oxnard police officers responded to Vons located at 450 S. Ventura Road for a robbery.  The officers spoke to the victims of the robbery and learned the suspect used a handgun during the commission of the crime. The suspect, described as a light skinned Hispanic male was observed by Vons Loss Prevention Officers (LPO’s) concealing merchandise.  After passing all manned cash registers and exiting the store with the concealed merchandise he was contacted by the LPO’s.  The suspect then brandished a handgun at the LPO’s and stated “I don’t want to hurt you over some little stuff like this.”  In fear for their lives, the LPO’s retreated back into the store and the suspect left the area.
Investigators from the Violent Crimes Unit (VCU) investigated the robbery. During the investigation, VCU investigators were able to positively identify, Steven Leal, 21, of Santa Paula, as the suspect who committed the crime. Leal was arrested and charged with the robbery and a special enhancement for using a handgun during the commission of the crime.
The Oxnard Police Department would like to inform citizens that what some might consider a simple arrest for shoplifting can easily turn into a more serious charge of felony robbery. Using force or fear to push past or get away from a store employee or security guard is enough to trigger what is known as an “Estes Robbery” no matter how much merchandise you are suspected of shoplifting. In some cases, when a weapon is used there are additional sentencing enhancements.
On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, at the Ventura County Superior Court, Steven Leal pled guilty to robbery. Leal agreed to 8 years in prison for his crime.
This is another example of the hard work and dedication by the officers and investigators of the Oxnard Police Department, as well as the collaborative effort from members of the community, crime victims and the District Attorney’s Office. The Oxnard Police Department continues to encourage residents to be partners in public safety as part of the Operation Safer and Stronger initiative. Anyone with information regarding criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Oxnard Police Department at (805) 385-7600, or the Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (805) 222-8477 and www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org/contactus.

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Steven Leal

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