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‘Poodle Bandit’ headed for the big house

‘Poodle Bandit’ headed for the big house

Belko Yovanovich, 52, of Summerset entered a plea of guilty to six counts of armed bank robbery and admitted to robbing a seventh.


POSTED March 1, 2011 10:59 p.m.

The man, who gained the nickname of the “Poodle Bandit” because of his unruly curly-haired mop wig and his propensity to rob banks, pled guilty Tuesday to multiple counts of armed bank robbery, including one in Turlock.

Belko Yovanovich, 52, of Summerset entered a plea of guilty to six counts of armed bank robbery and admitted to robbing a seventh. He entered his plea Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Fresno.

Yovanovich was dubbed the “Poodle Bandit” because of the curly wig he wore as a disguise that resembled the dog’s fur.

His spree of robberies began on March 8, 2010, and continued through May 6, 2010, when he was apprehended after a Good Samaritan saw him leaving the Oak Valley Bank in Modesto.

One of the banks Yovanovich robbed was the Rabobank at 2190 W. Monte Vista Ave. on April 29, 2010. By this time, the “Poodle Bandit” had already struck at banks in Tracy, Elk Grove and Bakersfield.

Yovanovich admitted that during each of the robberies he entered the bank and, armed with a handgun, ordered the bank tellers inside to give him all the money.  As part of the plea agreement, Yovanovich also admitted he robbed a bank in Northern California on April 5, 2010. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 16 and is facing a maximum sentence of 150 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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