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'Western bandit' serial robber may have resurfaced, L.A. police say

Los Angeles police say they believe a serial robber with a penchant for gunfire has resurfaced along Western Avenue.

LAPD detectives say the man they are calling the “Western bandit” was likely responsible for an attempted robbery and a Jan. 8 robbery in which a witness was shot and wounded,

Investigators believe he also is responsible for several robberies over a three-day span in November 2011, including one in which a transgender prostitute was shot to death in Hollywood and another was shot at a half-hour later at a West Hollywood park.

The suspect disappeared for a while until resurfacing for a series of robberies between June and October 2012, police believe.

“This is a huge concern for us and for the safety of the public,” said Los Angeles police Lt. John Radtke, supervisor of West Bureau homicide detectives. Radtke said a “signature aspect” of the crimes, which he declined to specify, has led investigators to believe the same man has reappeared for crime sprees three times.

Radtke said the suspect has operated most often between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. roughly along a six-mile corridor running down Western Avenue between Hollywood and South Los Angeles.

Though three of the victims have been transgender prostitutes, Radtke said it appears the robber is targeting anyone alone and vulnerable late at night or early in the morning -– including people coming home late from work or getting up early to go to work.

Radtke said the suspect is black, between 5 foot 9 inches and 6 feet tall, stocky, with medium complexion, curly hair and skin tags near his eyes.

Those with information in the case are asked to call detectives at (213) 382 9470.


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-- Sam Quinones


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