DOWNTOWN — Police are asking for the public’s help in apprehending a man they say has committed at least a dozen crimes in the Los Angeles area, including several car jackings and robberies.
The same suspect, dubbed the “Opportunistic Bandit” by police because of the types of crimes and victims targeted, is also believed to be responsible for at least seven other illegal acts in the cities of Santa Monica, Glendale, Pasadena and Beverly Hills.
During the Santa Monica incident, which occurred the evening of April 20, police said the suspect hopped into a woman’s 2010 Mercedes and drove off just as she was finishing filling it up with gas at an AM-PM on Pico Boulevard at Fourth Street. The victim left her keys in the ignition, said Sgt. Richard Lewis with the Santa Monica Police Department.
That Mercedes was recovered in Hollywood several days later. Police believe it was used to commit several other crimes in neighboring cities.
The suspect is described as an African-American male, 25 to 35 years of age with brown eyes and a bald head. He is said to be between 5 feet, 9 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing between 180 and 250 pounds.
Surveillance video of the suspect can be viewed on the LAPD’s website — lapdonline.org/newsroom/news_view/50955
That footage is from an April 15 robbery that took place around 8:45 p.m. at a gas station located on the 1700 block of Highland Avenue in Hollywood. While inside the gas station, the suspect walked up to the female victim and tried to strike up a conversation with her. The victim left the business and entered her car. The suspect jumped into the passenger’s seat and allegedly hit the victim several times and forced her out of the car. The suspect then drove away with the victim’s car and purse.
During a separate incident, the suspect allegedly targeted and physically assaulted a 76-year-old woman, carjacking her vehicle and taking her purse.
The suspect is also believed to have entered occupied and unoccupied cars in business parking lots and steals purses. Additional, he forcibly grabs purses or money bags from unsuspecting victims, police said.
Other crimes committed by the suspect include street robberies, burglary/theft from motor vehicles, and vandalism.
Detectives are concerned the level of violence could escalate if the suspect is not apprehended soon.
Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division at (213) 486-6840 or (877) 527-3247, or the SMPD at (310) 458-8451 or the watch commander at (310) 458-8427.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call the WeTip hotline at (800) 78-CRIME (27463) or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. Tipsters can also contact Crime Stoppers by either calling (800) 222-TIPS, texting from their mobile, or by visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org. Callers may remain anonymous and may be qualified to receive a $1,000 reward from Crime Stoppers.