Bell Gardens Bank Robber Pleads Guilty

By City News Service

A man dubbed the “All Ears” bandit was sentenced Monday to 37 months behind bars for robbing a Citibank branch in Bell Gardens of $5,800 using a threatening demand note.

Stepan Dovlatyan, 26, pleaded guilty to the March 2011 robbery.

According to sentencing papers, Dovlatyan passed a demand note to the teller that read, “$6,000. Don’t make (it) murder. I have a gun.”

Feeling nervous and intimidated, the teller began silently counting out money on the counter. When she reached $5,800, Dovlatyan said, “That’s fine,” and left, according to the document.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, Dovlatyan wrote that he committed the robbery as a result of having “officially hit rock bottom in my life… At that time, I really believed I had no other choice.”

He apologized to the people he “hurt or scared in the process.”

Dovlatyan was indicted by a Los Angeles federal grand jury last July on one count of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery.

The heist to which he admitted took place March 12, 2011, while the attempted robberies occurred during the following week in Carson and Echo Park, said Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.

The defendant was identified based on evidence left at one of the banks, Martinez said, and was dubbed the “All Ears” bandit by the FBI based on witness accounts describing the suspect as having prominent ears.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Gorman, Dovlatyan used “force, violence or intimidation” during the robbery by showing the teller a note that “frightened” her.

The prosecutor said Dovlatyan has agreed to pay the stolen money back to the bank.

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May 10, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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