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‘Tri-Cities Bandit’ gets 8-year sentence

A 39-year-old man known as the Tri-Cities Bandit was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for robbing banks in several cities, including Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena, according to court documents.

Ernest Viana pleaded guilty in December to six federal counts of bank robbery and using force or intimidation to steal, according to U.S. District Court records.

Viana was also ordered to pay $21,229 in restitution to the banks he robbed.

When Viana is released from prison, he will be placed under supervised probation for three years.


Viana’s co-defendant, Oleg Gorokhovsky — the alleged getaway drive — pleaded guilty in January to four counts of aiding and abetting in a bank robbery, according to court documents.

Viana was dubbed the Tri-Cities Bandit after robbing three banks in Glendale, one in Burbank and two in Pasadena.

He eventually went on to rob six other banks in Tarzana, Brentwood, Chino Hills, Los Angeles and La Verne, according to the FBI.

In most robberies, he passed the bank teller a note demanding cash and was seen fleeing the area in a white Volkswagen Passat, according to the FBI.


Gorokhovsky’s sentencing was set for April 16 in U.S. District Court.


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-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA