A couple from Valencia charged in the attempted robbery of a North Hollywood bank pleaded not guilty on Thursday, and the boyfriend also denied charges in a string of other bank robberies in the area.
James Lee Hamill, 27, and Samantha Yaworski, 22, were each charged Tuesday with one felony count of attempted second-degree robbery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. Hamill was also charged with a second count of attempted second-degree robbery and six counts of second-degree robbery.
The couple attempted to rob a North Hollywood bank together on May 4, leading to their arrest by Los Angeles police, authorities said. Warrants had been issued for their arrest two days earlier, Burbank police said Wednesday.
The series of robberies began in March and spanned nearly two months, according to Burbank police. Two of the robberies occurred at U.S. Bank locations in Burbank, police said: one on April 20 in which a witness tried to detain the armed robber, who had a pellet gun resembling a real handgun; and another on April 30. In both cases, the robber handed over a demand note.
The same man robbed banks in Newhall, Valencia, Pico Rivera, and Orange, and Yaworski is believed to have been the getaway driver in at least one of the robberies, Burbank police said.
The DA’s office confirmed the other charges for Hamill involved robberies in Burbank, Newhall, Valencia, Pico Rivera and Orange between March and May.
If convicted as charged, Hamill will face more than 11 years in prison. Yaworski is facing a three-year sentence if convicted.
The defendants are set to return to court in Burbank on May 31.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.