'Tri-Cities Bandit' bank robbery suspect caught


L.A. County sheriff's deputies from the Lost Hills Station arrested two men following a bank robbery believed to be the tenth committed by the Tri-Cities Bandit.

A First California Bank branch in Westlake Village was robbed Friday, thought to be the latest done by the suspect.

Deputies arrested Ernest Viana, 39, on suspicion of bank robbery. Oleg Gorokhovsky, 42, was taken into custody, suspected of being a getaway driver for Viana.

The sheriff's department and the FBI were working to determine whether to prosecute Viana at the state or federal level, according to the FBI.

Thursday, the FBI released recent surveillance photos of the suspect.

Federal agents dubbed him the "Tri-Cities Bandit" after his first three robberies in the Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena areas, but he has since branched out.

The locations don't appear to have a pattern. He struck one bank as far west as Tarzana and two others as far as east as La Verne and Chino Hills.

Authorities do say his behavior appears increasingly desperate. Friday he robbed a Grandpoint Bank branch in Brentwood. Monday it was Chino Hills; Tuesday, a bank on Wilshire; and Wednesday he hit two more banks in one day, including a Bank of the West on Colorado in Pasadena.

Authorities say the suspect is a 30- to 40-year-old Latino man, standing about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 150 to 160 pounds, with short dark hair and a goatee. He recently began wearing sunglasses when he strikes.

He has not brandished a weapon at any of the robberies, but authorities warn he should be considered armed and dangerous.

The Tri-Cities Bandit has been linked to the following robberies:

  • June 13, Citibank, 360 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
  • July 19, Wells Fargo, 82 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena
  • July 20, Wells Fargo, 535 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
  • Aug. 11, EastWest, 18321 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana
  • Aug. 12, Grandpoint, 11661 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood
  • Aug. 15, OneWest, 3410 Grand Ave., Chino Hills
  • Aug. 16, Bank of America, 3442 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Aug. 17, Bank of the West, 2500 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
  • Aug. 17, US Bank, 1900 E. Foothill Blvd., La Verne

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the FBI in Los Angeles at (888) CANT HIDE (226-8443), or dial 911.

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