Paso Robles bank robber sentenced to 25 years to life in prison

Michael Wallravin

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A judge sentenced a man convicted of robbing Pacific Premier Bank in Paso Robles to 25 years to life in prison.

On Nov. 15, 2019, two masked men with handguns entered Pacific Premier Bank on 12th Street and demanded cash. After bank staff handed the robbers an undisclosed amount of money, they fled in a gold Honda. 

Shortly afterwards, the robbers reportedly abandoned the Honda for a Chevy truck. Investigators tracked the truck to San Miguel and then discovered Michael Isodor Wallravin, 62, was the owner of the vehicle. 

Officers caught and arrested Wallravin following a short foot chase. Investigators found him in possession of bait money from the bank, as well as methamphetamine. 

Last month, a San Luis Obispo jury convicted Wallravin of the robbery.

In 1991, Wallravin was convicted of two separate counts of robbery. He was then sentenced to 12 years in prison for the robberies. 

Due to Wallravin’s prior violent crime convictions, his current case is his third strike in California’s three-strikes sentencing system, allowing Wallravin to be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

However, SLO County District Attorney Dan Down said in a statement his office cannot predict how much of the sentence the “career criminal” will serve.

“With frequent ‘reforms’ to criminal law in California, we cannot accurately predict how much of his sentence this career criminal will actually serve, but for the foreseeable future, he will be unable to victimize anyone in our community,” Dow said.

In Dec. 2019, a second suspect, Billy Benjamin Hernandez, turned himself in with the assistance of a bounty hunter. Police had identified Hernandez as a person of interest in the bank robbery prior to him surrendering to sheriff’s deputies.

The Nov. 2019 robbery marked the second time in a span of less than two months that the same Pacific Premier Bank branch was robbed. On Sept. 23, 2019, the Pacific Premier branch on 12th Street was robbed by an armed man wearing a mask. It is unclear whether the two robberies were connected.

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