LAPD investigators have redoubled efforts to find and arrest a suspect dubbed the “Western Bandit,” who is believed to have committed at least nine robberies and one murder in the Los Angeles area.
The man is believed to have been the suspect in the killing of a transgender woman on November 17, 2011 and the robbery and attempted murder in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park 30 minutes later.
The crimes committed by the suspect have occurred along an eight mile stretch near Western Avenue from Hollywood to South Los Angeles.
They began last November, and the latest one occurred on October 10, 2012.
The suspect is active from 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Olympic Division are leading the investigation. Lt. John Radke told the media that the suspect is considered armed and dangerous, and has shot at victims multiple times.
“There were some robberies and the murder last year, so we definitely want to get the information out there,” Lt. Radke told another media outlet. “[The robberies] stopped for a while, but then they started up again.”
Det. Luis Corona, a lead investigator on the case, told the press that “the suspect generally targets individuals in or near parked vehicles near the Western Avenue corridor.”
The man’s crime spree appears to have begun on Thursday, November 17, 2011, when LAPD officers, responding to an “assault with shooting call” at 9:55 pm, discovered a shooting victim, a transgender person named Cassidy Nathan Vickers at the corner of Lexington and Gower Avenues in Hollywood.
According to LAPD spokespersons, the woman suffered one gunshot wound to the upper torso, and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Minutes later – at 10:25 pm – and less than two miles away in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, another transgender female reported an attempted robbery with one shot fired from a semi-automatic weapon.
At that point the suspect fired a shot, according to West Hollywood Sheriff Captain Fraser who said, “The suspect fired one shot, thankfully, not hitting her or any other unattended victims.”
The victim was not injured.
The man is described as being African American, 35 to 45 years old, and five-feet-nine-inches to six-feet-tall.
He has a stocky build, usually wears dark clothing and is armed with a handgun.
He was seen leaving Plummer Park riding a Beach-Cruiser-type bicycle.
Detective Corona said the “Western Bandit” likely struck once more in late 2011 in a robbery that occurred near 7th Street and Kingsley Drive.
He declined to provide specifics, but said the suspect stole a purse and shot at the victim, missing her before running off.
There was nothing more heard of the suspect until August of this year.
Since August the “Western Bandit” has been connected to six robberies, including one on September 27 in South Los Angeles in which he shot at a victim and another robbery in South LA on October 10.
Detective Corona speculated that the time between crimes was due to the man having spent some time behind bars for another crime.
Anyone with information is asked to contact robbery detectives at the LAPD’s Olympic Division at (213)382-6628 or (213)382-9102.
During weekends and off-hours, call the LAPD’s 24-hour hotline at (877)ASKLAPD.