DOWNTOWN — Authorities have apprehended a man they believe is responsible for robbing eight banks on the Westside, including five in Santa Monica.

Alim Shamil Urmanchev, 44, was taken into custody Monday night and is expected to be charged in connection with the armed robberies, a spokesperson for the FBI said.

During the robberies, Urmanchev, dubbed the Gun & Bag Bandit by law enforcement, wore sunglasses and a hat, alternating between a baseball cap and a cowboy hat. He threatened with a weapon and carried a brown paper bag, in which he placed the stolen cash.

Authorities did not release the amount of stolen cash.

The first robbery linked to the suspect took place at the Santa Monica First Republic at 431 Wilshire Blvd. in May 2013, authorities said. The most recent took place on Jan. 7 at the Santa Monica U.S. Bank at 1401 Wilshire Blvd. The suspect also hit banks on Montana Avenue and Santa Monica and Pico boulevards.

U.S. Bank offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information on the Westside Gun & Bag Bandit, the FBI said. Officials with U.S. Bank could not be reached for comment on the arrest.

 

kevinh@smdp.com