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'Western Bandit' sought

City News Service | 11/16/2012, 7:32 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Authorities sought the public's help today in their search for the "Western Bandit," who is suspected of killing one person and committing a number of armed robberies over the past year.

The crimes have occurred in convenience stores and other businesses, generally between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., along an eight-mile section of Western Avenue from Hollywood to South Los Angeles, Los Angeles police officials said.

The suspect is described as a Black, Hispanic or Middle Eastern man, 35-45 years of age, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, with a "stocky build," police said. He has worn dark clothing, and in some of the crimes he was seen riding a bicycle.

"We're very concerned about public safety in this case," said Lt. John Radtke. "It's very, very important that people be careful in case they encounter the suspect."

Radtke said the robber has been known to be "very violent" and "quick to use a firearm."

"So, if someone were to be a victim of a robbery, be a good witness," Radtke said. "Give up your property. Don't fight. Don't run, because we don't want to see anyone get injured."

Police circulated a composite sketch of a suspect in one crime as well as a video of a gunman who robbed a 7-Eleven. Radtke said it could be the same man and urged people to call police if they recognize him.

The suspect could be the person who killed transgender woman Nathan Vickers in November 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call police at (213) 382-9470, or (877) LAPD-247.