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Owner of Borderline bar, site of mass shooting, convicted of theft

The man who operated the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, where a gunman fatally shot a dozen people in 2018, has been convicted of misappropriating more $43,000 from a local country music festival.

A jury in Ventura found Brian Andrew Hynes, 43, guilty of felony grand theft from the Rotary Club of Westlake Village, with whom he produced the Oak Heart Country Music Festival in 2020. The festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Hynes failed to return to the Rotary Club and ticketholders all the money he been given to book the bands.

Hynes was convicted Wedesday of pocketing $43,750. Prosecutors say he placed the funds in a general business bank account that he controlled. He went on to spend the festival money on unrelated business and personal expenses.

“Facing difficult financial circumstances, Mr. Hynes decided to misappropriate venture money,” said Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Marc Leventhal, who prosecuted the case. “Rather than mitigating his crime by taking responsibility, he instead put his former Rotary colleagues and business partner and employees through the ordeal of an emotionally draining trial.”

Hynes did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

Hynes, a longtime member of the Rotary Club, had worked with the organization since 2012 to put on the annual concert at Conejo Creek Park South in Thousand Oaks.

In the wake of the November 2018 shooting that left 12 people dead, including four Borderline staff members and a sheriff’s sergeant along with the gunman, the community rallied around Hynes and the Borderline family. When Hynes needed to undergo a lifesaving liver transplant, community members helped raise $41,000 via a medical fundraising website.

The shooting took place Nov. 7, 2018, when Ian Long, a Marine veteran, opened fire on patrons at the crowded bar around 11:20 p.m. The troubled 28-year-old, who was suspected of having post-traumatic stress disorder, fired 61 rounds, killing 11 people and shooting Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, one of the first officers on the scene, multiple times before fatally shooting himself. Helus died after being hit by crossfire from a California Highway Patrol officer. In the wake of the shooting, the location was shuttered and leveled.

After Hynes was charged with the theft, the Rotary Club of Westlake Village released a statement saying, “We are shocked and saddened by this situation.”

Hynes remains free on bail. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 1 at the Ventura County Superior Court.

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