Elder Attacker Arrested

LONG BEACH (CNS) - The Long Beach Police Department today released the  name of a woman who authorities believe was an accomplice for a 39-year-old man  arrested in connection with a series of robberies and assaults targeting senior  citizens.

The woman was identified as Sophia Yim, 31, of Lynwood.

Yim was arrested on suspicion of robbery and was being held in lieu of  $100,000 bail, police said.

Her alleged accomplice, Melvin Earl Farmer Jr. of Lynwood, was arrested  around 9:15 a.m. Friday and was being held in lieu of $2 million bail,  according to Long Beach police and sheriff's inmate records.

Farmer had been detained in the area of Century Boulevard and Vermont  Avenue in South Los Angeles and questioned as a person of interest in the case  after authorities released video and a photograph that led to a tip, LBPD Chief  Robert Luna told reporters Friday.

``Through the media coverage of the photo and video, someone saw that  and believed they recognized the man and called police -- and that's one of the  reasons we're here today,'' Luna said.

Luna praised his department's investigators and technicians, as well as  the victims, who he called ``the real heroes.''

``Their strength and courageous actions are admirable,'' he said.

The latest crime occurred at 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 it and a photo of the suspect, leading to the tip that helped them  identify Farmer.

Farmer was booked on suspicion of residential robbery, rape by force or  fear, oral copulation by force or injury, making a death threat and assault  with a non-firearm deadly weapon with great bodily injury, Arrona said, adding  that ``his lengthy criminal history includes robbery and theft.''

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