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Armed robber targets West L.A. elderly

July 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
An 84-year-old woman is the latest victim in a string of home-invasion robberies on the Westside in recent weeks.Authorities believe the same person is targeting elderly women in Westside neighborhoods. They say the suspect is usually looking for cash and jewelry.

The suspect's most recent home invasion robbery happened on the 2100 block of Pelham Avenue.

"I felt something on my neck ... a gun ... and he said, 'You do as I say or I will kill you'," said 84-year-old robbery victim Ernestine Avelar.

Avelar was woken up early Thursday morning by a tall man wearing a mask and gloves pointing a gun at her.

"I was petrified. I am a heart patient at UCLA," said Avelar.

Fearing for her life, Ernestine says she did not put up a fight.

"I said that I had $50. That's all. And I gave him the $50," said Avelar.

The robber got in through a locked kitchen window around 3:20 a.m. Thursday. Avelar's daughter says her mother's dogs scared the suspect away.

"Dogs are a good protection. Otherwise he may have stayed longer and ... Who knows?" said daughter Norma Avelar.

Authorities believe the suspect is a serial predator who has been casing the neighborhood, specifically targeting single, elderly women.

L.A. City Councilmember Jack White wants Westside residents to be aware.

"We have about six to eight cases from west of the 405 to east of the 405, near Rancho Park, near Santa Monica Boulevard, as far south as Culver City," said White.

Police are increasing patrols in the area and they have forensics teams sweeping the locations that have been targeted. The suspect is described as a black man, 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and between 25 to 35 years old. He also wears a mask and gloves. Police told Eyewitness News this is the first case of a victim reporting that the suspect used a weapon.

If you have any information regarding the case, you're asked to call the LAPD West L.A. division at (310) 444-0701.

Eyewitness News Reporter John Gregory contributed to this report

 

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