A 39-year-old man was arrested Friday in connection with a series of robberies and assaults targeting senior citizens in Long Beach.
Melvin Earl Farmer was arrested about 9:15 a.m. and was being held in lieu of $105,000 bail, according to sheriff’s inmate records.
Farmer had been detained and questioned as a person of interest in the case after authorities released video and a photograph that led to tips from the public, Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert Luna told reporters at a news briefing where he announced the arrest.
The latest crime occurred about 7:25 a.m. Thursday, when officers were dispatched to a panic alarm at a residence in the 3700 block of Pacific Avenue, LBPD spokeswoman Marlene Arrona said.
“Arriving officers determined a residential robbery and an (attempted) sexual assault occurred,” she said.
The culprit rang the victim’s doorbell, forced his way into her home, tried to sexually assault her and then “fled with the victim’s property,” Arrona said.
The 90-year-old woman was able to fight off her attacker. She suffered injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening and was taken to a hospital for treatment, Arrona said.
“Detectives believe this incident is tied to the robbery series in/around a senior housing complex near Atlantic Avenue and Via Carmelitos,” Arrona said.
In the other four crimes, a suspect victimized women ranging in age from 63 to 95 between Feb. 2 and Sunday at the senior housing complex, police said. In most cases, a man knocked on the door, forced his way inside and physically assaulted the victims, police said.
The suspect got away with purses, cellphones and cash, police said.
In one case, the victim was walking near the residential complex when the robbery occurred. The four attacks were carried out at various times between 5:45 a.m. and 7:45 p.m., police said.
Sunday’s attack escalated to a sexual assault, police said.
Detectives obtained video from surveillance cameras in the area and released a photo of the suspect, leading to tips that helped them identify Farmer, who police say has a long criminal history.
A 39-year-old woman was being questioned as a potential accomplice to Farmer, according to a report from Luna’s news briefing.
–City News Service