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‘It Was Quite A Day’

Amelia Velis wants to feel safe. She’s heading to Chicago.

“I’m relieved I’m leaving town,” the Valley woman said, referring to an upcoming trip to the Windy City. “You think that’s the center of crime, but I’m looking forward to getting away from all this.”

Velis was referring to Friday’s robbery of U.S. Bank and bombing of the Valley’s Planned Parenthood office.

Velis’ husband, George, is a dentist who shares a building with Planned Parenthood. He was out of the office Friday, attending a conference in Seattle.

Velis was on her way to U.S. Bank that afternoon.

When she arrived, along with 13-year-old son, Nick, and one of his friends, they saw the bank’s staff standing outside. Velis rolled down her window.

“They said, ‘It’s a hold-up!”’ Then Velis’ cellular telephone rang. It was 17-year-old daughter, Alexi.

The girl told Velis a bomb had exploded in the building her father works in. Alexi saw it on television.

“It was quite a day,” Velis said through a sigh, “and it was all before 2 in the afternoon.”

Velis said her husband’s office was undamaged, save for a few things knocked off shelves and a telephone jarred free of its base.

She called her husband in Seattle. “I first told him I was going to the bank to make a withdrawal, and it was robbed. Then I told him someone blew up his building.”

He was just glad she was safe, Amelia Velis said.

The building is also home to Bourekis, Psomas and Bourekis dentistry and Bond Family Chiropractic.

James Bourekis was treating a patient when the bomb went off. “There was this huge, loud explosion, a large concussion and the building shook,” the dentist said. His office filled with smoke, but was otherwise undamaged.

Bourekis said he was startled, but didn’t think it was a bomb at first.

Bond Family Chiropractic was also open next door, Bourekis said. Callers trying to reach that office get a recorded message of a woman’s voice trying to remain calm, despite shouting in the background. No one from the office could be reached Saturday.

James Psomas wasn’t working Friday, but the incident sobered him.

“It’s amazing. Anything can happen at any time,” Psomas said.

Bourekis and Psomas both said they aren’t worried about working near the Planned Parenthood clinic and don’t fear a second bombing.

But the crime is too much for Velis. She said she’s shocked because the whole thing has almost become routine. People aren’t even surprised.

And she’s thinking about changing to another bank.

“I’ve had enough.”

, DataTimes