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Valencia pair arrested for bank robbery

City News Service | 5/11/2018, midnight

A man accused in a series of Southland bank robberies, including two Burbank heists, and a woman who allegedly drove him from the scene of at least one of the holdups, were scheduled for court appearance this week.

James Hamill, 27, and Samantha Yaworski, 22, both of Valencia, were arrested on May 4, according to Burbank police Sgt. Derek Green.

“The robbery spree began in March ... and spanned about two months, during which two U.S. Bank locations in the city of Burbank were robbed,'' he said.

The first robbery occurred about 3:40 p.m. April 20 at a branch at 1720 W. Olive Ave., according to the sergeant.

A suspect, now believed to be Hamill, walked into the bank and produced a demand note, Green said.

“A witness inside the bank attempted to detain the suspect, but was unable to,'' he said. “It was learned the suspect was armed with a pellet gun resembling a real handgun, which he left behind at the scene.''

The same suspect was alleged to have robbed a U.S. Bank branch at 240 N. San Fernando Blvd. about 2:15 p.m. on April 30, again using a demand note, Green said.

Burbank police investigating the heists learned the same person was also suspected in bank robberies in Newhall, Valencia, Pico Rivera and Orange and an attempted robbery in Van Nuys, Green said.

Evidence collected at the scene of the first robbery led investigators to identify Hamill as the suspected bandit and Yaworski as the alleged getaway driver in at least one of the robberies, Green said.

Warrants were issued on May 2 for both Hamill and Yaworski, who were arrested by Los Angeles police after they entered a U.S. Bank branch in the 10100 block of Riverside Drive in North Hollywood, Green said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on Monday filed six counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery against Hamill and one count of attempted robbery against Yaworski, court records show. Hamill was being held at the Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles, with bail set at $400,000, and Yaworski was being housed at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to sheriff's inmate records.