Bank robbery suspect found without cash: Cops arrest man in Sparks casino |

Bank robbery suspect found without cash: Cops arrest man in Sparks casino

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A South Lake Tahoe bank robbery suspect who targeted El Dorado Savings branches was arrested on the 24th floor of a Sparks casino.

Russell Garrett Waggoner, 39, was taken into custody without incident Tuesday at 1:15 a.m. after Nevada Gaming Control Board officers located the man registered at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

Waggoner allegedly robbed three El Dorado Savings branches four times between June 25 and Sept. 17. Officers with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department reportedly found clothing related to the robberies in Waggoner’s room. No gun was discovered.

Using fingerprints lifted from the four robberies, police technicians were able to identify Waggoner as a suspect on Friday. A $500,000 arrest warrant was issued and detectives were sent to Redding, thinking he might be there.

Fliers were delivered to surrounding agencies. Waggoner’s name popped up on the registration list at the Nugget late Monday.

Sparks police summoned 12 SWAT members. The floor was partially evacuated before a call was made to Waggoner’s room.

“We used some type of ruse to see who answered,” said Sparks police Sgt. Chad Hawkins.

Hostage negotiators talked to Waggoner, notifying him that police filled the hallway outside his room. Waggoner reportedly said he had to put on his clothes before surrendering. Hawkins said a large sum of money was not located during a search of Waggoner’s room. It was not disclosed how much the banks lost in each heist.

Detectives from SLTPD questioned Waggoner on Tuesday. He was being held at Washoe County Jail awaiting extradition to South Lake Tahoe.

Deputy District Attorney Peter O’Hara said a preliminary charge of one felony robbery charge was being filed for extradition purposes.

Police believed the same man robbed the El Dorado Savings banks. Each time a man handed a note to a teller and indicated he had a gun, sometimes by reaching into his backpack. After receiving the money, he would disappear while authorities, including the FBI, searched the area.

An official with Redding Police Department said Waggoner was in the police computer for “minor contacts,” such as disturbances. The most recent encounter Waggoner had with Redding police was in 1997. He was not arrested. There is no hometown on record for Waggoner.

E-mail William Ferchland at

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