‘River Rat’ sentenced in Clark County

Prolific bank robber will spend decades in prison




A serial robber known as the River Rat was sentenced Tuesday to 27 years in prison for committing a string of robberies in Clark County in 2009.

Charged with a total of 18 robberies in Washington and Oregon, Alexey Perez Hernandez, 35, has already been sentenced by judges in King and Pierce counties as well as in federal court in Multnomah County.

Tuesday’s sentencing before Clark County Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard concluded the Bonney Lake resident’s high-profile crime spree case that earned him the nickname by the FBI for targeting banks and check-cashing stores on both sides of the Columbia River.

Perez Hernandez’s 27-year sentence, as well as lesser punishments imposed in King and Pierce counties, will all be served at the same time as his 28-year federal sentence, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Alan Harvey.

He will have to serve 15 of the 27 years in full without the possibility for time off for good behavior, Harvey added.

Perez Hernandez pleaded guilty at the beginning of Tuesday’s hearing to five counts of first-degree robbery. The robbery charges relate to Aug. 10, 2009, and Aug. 25, 2009, heists at Advance America Cash Advance, 13503 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., and a Sept. 8, 2009 holdup at The Cash Store, 1108 N.E. 78th St.

The 2009 bank robberies occurred Aug. 11 at Key Bank, 13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., and Sept. 24 at Chase Bank, 13620 N.E. 84th St.

Defense attorney Maggie Smith Evansen said her client was sorry for the string of robberies.

“He has a lot of regret for his poor decisions that led to his crime spree,” she said.

“It could have had more serious ramifications,” the judge responded.

Evansen pointed out to the judge that while Perez Hernandez was armed during the robberies, his gun contained no bullets.

When it was his turn to speak, Perez Hernandez, through a Spanish translator, reiterated his attorney’s words.

“When I get out, I’m going to have a new life,” he said. “I have two daughters. I want to spend time with them.”

The River Rat’s getaway driver, Travis Lee Oles, a pizza shop owner from Portland, was sentenced last May to 18 years in federal prison for helping plan the robberies.

Collectively, the two defendants must pay about $25,000 in restitution as part of their sentences.

Perez Hernandez will serve his sentence in a federal prison.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.