Ventura County News

Thousand Oaks man arrested for mall attacks

Sunday, March 31, 2013
Sergio Banuelos, 19, appears in a booking photo from the Thousand Oaks Police Department.

Sergio Banuelos, 19, appears in a booking photo from the Thousand Oaks Police Department. (KABC Photo)

A 19-year-old man was arrested for allegedly attacking two women at two different Thousand Oaks mall parking structures.

In the first incident, the female victim said she was sitting in her car in the Janss Mall parking structure at about 7:15 p.m. Saturday when a man tried to get in her car. When he noticed the doors were locked, he reached through the open driver's side window and grabbed the victim's hair.

He eventually let go of her hair, but reached further into the car and grabbed the victim's upper torso and abdomen area. The victim said she screamed and the suspect fled the scene on a red mountain bike.

In the second incident, the female victim was walking up a flight of stairs at the Thousand Oaks Mall parking structure at about 8 p.m. Saturday when a man grabbed her from behind.

The victim said the man grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back toward him. She screamed and managed to break free. The suspect again fled the scene on a red mountain bike.

After authorities were alerted to these two attacks, investigators searched the surrounding areas and located the red bike at about 10:20 p.m. in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 800 block of Warwick Avenue. The suspect, identified as Sergio Banuelos of Thousand Oaks, was detained and positively identified by the two female victims from the earlier attacks.

Both Janss and Thousand Oaks malls have video surveillance in their parking structures. Authorities say Banuelos was captured on both systems.

During the investigation, a third victim approached the Thousand Oaks Mall security to report a possible theft from her car. The security personnel reviewed video surveillance and spotted Banuelos near the area of the victim's car.

Banuelos was arrested for attempted robbery, attempted carjacking and kidnapping. Bail was set at $100,000.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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