'Tri-Cities Bandit' nabbed, FBI says

A man suspected of being the Tri-Cities Bandit was arrested Friday by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies after robbing a First California Bank in Westlake Village, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Ernest Viana, 39, was apprehended along with his suspected getaway driver, Oleg Gorokhovsky, 42.

Viana was linked to a string of robberies and attempted robberies in several cities, including Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena. Officials said he robbed two banks, one in Pasadena and one in La Verne, on Wednesday evening. 

On July 19, Viana allegedly attempted to rob a Wells Fargo bank on Lake Avenue in Pasadena.

The Sheriff’s Department and the FBI will work together to determine whether Viana will be prosecuted at the state or federal level, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy E. Jefferys said Viana walked into the bank shortly before 11:40 a.m. Friday and gave a note to the teller demanding money. He allegedly walked out of the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash and fled in a white Volkswagen Passat with Gorokhovsky behind the wheel.

“A detective conducted a high-risk traffic stop and arrested both suspects without incident,” Jefferys said.

Viana and Gorokhovsky are in custody at the Lost Hills station jail.


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