A man suspected of being the “Tri-Cities Bandit” and his alleged getaway driver were behind bars in connection to 10 Southland bank robberies.
Ernest Viana, 39, and alleged getaway driver Oleg Gorokhovsky, 42, were arrested about 1:30 p.m. Friday after a holdup at a First California Bank branch at 32100 Agoura Road in Westlake Village, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.
Bank employees told deputies the suspect identified as Viana came into the bank about 11:40 a.m. and passed a note to one of the tellers, demanding cash in large denominations, said sheriff's Sgt. Mark Bock of the Malibu/Lost Hills station. A description of the getaway car was broadcast across the region.
A deputy on patrol near Topanga Canyon Boulevard and the Ventura (101) Freeway spotted a vehicle matching the description of the getaway car, and the two were arrested in a felony traffic stop, deputies said.
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The robber got his FBI moniker after being linked to bank robberies in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena. Other holdups in which Viana is suspected occurred in La Verne, Tarzana and Brentwood.
Viana was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Using Ernesto Alavarez as an alias, Viana had been arrested by Los Angeles police in Hollywood on June 15, according to L.A. County jail records.
Gorokhovsky was arrested July 18 by the LAPD in the western San Fernando Valley, but it was unclear what for, according to jail records. Gorokhovsky posted $6,520 in bail and was released on July 19, jail records show.