Walnut Creek

Lafayette Chef Arrested on Suspicion of Robbing a Bank in Orinda

A Contra County chef has been arrested on suspicion of robbing about $18,000 from an Orinda bank Wednesday morning.

Valentino Luchin, of Lafayette, is detained at the Martinez Detention Facility on $100,000 bail in connection to an armed robbery that took place at Citibank on Orinda Way at around 11 a.m.

Though it is unclear where he has been working for the last few years, the 54-year-old was the former owner and executive chef of Ottavio, an Italian restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek from 2010 to its closing in 2016, according to his online resume.

According to court records, the robbery suspect had a short, scruffy white and black beard and was wearing black sunglasses, white gloves and a black hooded sweater when he pointed a semi-automatic pistol at a teller.

He demanded “large bills” that he had the teller put into a duffel bag he placed on the counter before driving off in a black Mercedes.

Luchin was arrested around 2 p.m. by Lafayette and Orinda police after driving to a health club on Mount Diablo Boulevard, officers said. The money taken in the robbery was recovered along with what turned out to be a replica gun used in the heist.

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