‘Backpack Bandit’ Strikes Again in Little Tokyo


The video shows the suspect behind the JACCC, running toward Third Street.

Seconds later, the victim appears, pushing her walker toward Little Tokyo Towers.

One day after releasing video of a short man with a backpack robbing a blind, elderly woman in Little Tokyo, detectives received video of another robbery by the same suspect against another elderly woman pushing a walker.

On Aug. 1, a 79-year-old resident of Little Tokyo was pushing her walker down a garden path behind the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., toward Little Tokyo Towers.

“It was just after 10 a.m., when the woman felt a man behind her,” explained Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of detectives downtown. “The man held up the woman’s necklace and said to her, ‘Baby, I’m going to take your chain.’ ”

The video does not show the actual crime, but one can see the suspect, wearing a backpack, emerge from the walking path and run away toward Third Street. The woman emerges just after him, pushing her walker.

In this instance, no force was used. The suspect merely unfastened the clasp to the necklace.

“After seeing the video, we think this is the same suspect who robbed the blind woman,” Vernon said. “We’ve dubbed him the Backpack Bandit, and we want anyone who knows him to call us.”

Police are warning residents, especially the elderly in Little Tokyo, to be aware of their surroundings.

The man has been seen with a backpack both times he has struck since July 24. Those two crimes occurred within a one-block radius of First Street and San Pedro Street, and between 10 a.m. and noon.

Vernon said the man has probably committed crimes every day during that period.

The suspect is under 5’5” tall and medium build.  He is Hispanic but speaks English, as evidenced by this latest crime. Police suspect he is a drug user and lives in the area.

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Central Detectives at (213) 972-1251. Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (CRIMES) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org. Click on “Webtips” and follow the prompts.

Video is available for viewing at Central Police Station and www.lapdonline.org/lapd_tv.


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