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'Western bandit' suspected in slaying, multiple robberies

Los Angeles police are forming a task force to search for a man suspected in a killing and who repeatedly robbed people and businesses along Western Avenue for more than a year, authorities said Thursday.

"The Western Bandit," as police have named him, is wanted in at least nine armed robberies, including a series of 7-Eleven robberies, and the murder of transgender woman Nathan Vickers in November 2011. 

Police believe he is African American with a stocky build and between 35 and 45 years old. He is believed to live in the area he targets. The bandit strikes mostly at night along an 8-mile stretch of Western Avenue between Santa Monica Boulevard and Florence Avenue, according to KTLA-TV Channel 5.

He has targeted two other transgender people, but police have found no reason to believe this was intentional, reported KTLA.

"We have no evidence to suggest that he is specifically targeting people because of their sexual orientation. However, we are greatly concerned," Lt. John Radke told KTLA.

Los Angeles police spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said she did not know what linked the same man to all nine crimes or what the most recent crime was.

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-- Frank Shyong

Follow Frank Shyong on Twitter.

 
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