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COLLEGE STUDENTS ARRESTED IN BANK HEIST; ONE SUSPECT WAS CANYON HIGH FOOTBALL STAR.

Byline: Mary Schubert Daily News Staff Writer

A former high school football star and his cousin, both students at College of the Canyons, were arrested Wednesday after a takeover bank robbery by two armed bandits who fled in a stolen car, officials said.

Eddie James Pugh, 20, and Georgina Janelle Greene, 19, both of Canyon Country, were arrested on suspicion of robbing the Citibank branch at 19100 Soledad Canyon Road, said sheriff's Lt. Steve Dolan. Both suspects are full-time students at the college and Pugh recently played defensive back for the newly revived Cougars football team.

The pair were taken into custody within a half-hour of the 9:30 a.m. stickup, in which shotgun-wielding bandits ``dressed head to toe in black clothing'' stormed the bank branch near Whites Canyon Road, said sheriff's Sgt. Howard Fairchild.

More than $2,000 in cash - including ``bait'' money from the bank - was recovered. Dolan said Greene had some of the cash stuffed down her pants.

He said investigators believe a third person might have been involved in the robbery. ``There's a good chance that we still have one suspect outstanding,'' Dolan said.

Nobody was hurt in the holdup and no shots were fired, but Dolan said the robbers cocked the shotguns and loaded a round into a chamber.

``One of the suspects stands in the middle of the bank and herds everybody into . . . the lobby area, while the other one goes through the cash drawers,'' the lieutenant said. ``They were only in the bank for a minute and a half, two minutes maximum.''

The suspects fled in a 1989 Nissan Maxima, then abandoned it in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Hidaway Avenue. Witnesses there told deputies they had seen a U-Haul truck flee from the scene.

Not long after, deputies spotted and pulled over a U-Haul truck heading east on Soledad near Shangri-La Drive, and they arrested Pugh and Greene. Greene was booked in lieu of $50,000 bail while Pugh, who is on parole for a robbery conviction, was jailed without bail, Fairchild said.

The Nissan Maxima used to flee from the Citibank branch was linked to a Nov. 23 home-invasion robbery in the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Division. LAPD officials refused to release details of their investigation.

However, Dolan said the Maxima is registered to a man with addresses in Woodland Hills and Los Angeles. ``I don't know if it was stolen and then used in the home-invasion robbery, or stolen in the course of the home-invasion robbery,'' the lieutenant said.

Pugh was a star football player while at Canyon High School, and was named an All-Foothill League player. He played for the 7-3 Cougars until last month.

``Pugh had gone to Coach (Chuck) Lyon about a week or 10 days ago, indicating he was having some problems,'' said John McElwain, a college spokesman. ``They agreed that he wouldn't be playing on the team any more.''

In September 1996, Pugh pleaded guilty in Van Nuys Superior Court to a felony charge of attempted carjacking, stemming from the December 1995 holdup of a Pizza Hut deliveryman in Van Nuys. Although Pugh was only 17 at the time, prosecutors opted to try him as an adult.

The guilty plea was part of an arrangement that carried a minimum 18-month state prison sentence, in exchange for two other felony charges being dropped. Pugh also had run afoul of the law when, in March 1996, he was arrested for possessing a sawed-off shotgun while still out on bail for the attempted carjacking.

CAPTION(S):

3 Photos, Map

PHOTO (1 -- color in SAC only) Sheriff's deputies secure a crime scene after the robbery of a Canyon Country bank Wednesday. In the robbery, no one was hurt and no shots were fired.

(2 -- color -- ran in SAC edition only) A sheriff's deputy walks one of the suspects over to an eyewitness for identification after their arrest along Soledad Canyon Road.

(3 -- color -- ran in SAC edition only) Deputies escort a suspect to a squad car after the Citibank robbery. The suspects were identified as students of College of the Canyons.

Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News

MAP: Santa Clarita

LEGEND: (1) Two masked suspects armed with rifles robbed Citibank and fled in a stolen Nixxan Maxima.

(2) The Maxima was dumped in the parking of of a Hidaway Avenue condo complex, and suspects take off in U-Haul box truck.

(3) Suspects apprehended on eastbound Soledad at Shangri-la.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 3, 1998
Words:745
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