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'Hair Bandit' Suspect Arrested

Los Angeles

Crime: Police say they have the man responsible for six recent assaults. 'Women with long hair can rest easier,' they say.

January 02, 2002|ERIKA HAYASAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A man suspected of being the so-called Hair Bandit was arrested Tuesday at a Long Beach apartment complex, according to police.

Acting on an anonymous tip, officers arrested Michael Lynn Howard, 47, about 4:30 p.m. at a building on Pine Avenue., said Long Beach Police Officer Jana Blair. Howard, who lives in Norwalk, offered no resistance, Blair said, adding: "Women with long hair can rest easier."

During the last few weeks, Howard is believed to responsible for five incidents in Long Beach and one in East Los Angeles in which women have have been grabbed from behind and had chunks of their hair sliced off with a knife or scissors.

At least four of the victims were Latina. They have ranged in age from 12 to 45, Blair said. One victim, who did not report the attack, was described by a witness as a young girl who was assaulted at 7:15 a.m. at Pacific Coast Highway and Chestnut Avenue, Blair said.

After his arrest, Howard was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for a minor wound to the right side of his head. Authorities believe he received the injury Monday morning, saying a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy fired several shots at Howard after he allegedly tried to run over the deputy in a 1991 Buick Rivera that had been parked in a nearby alley.

The confrontation began about 8:30 a.m. when the deputy spotted a man, later identified by a tipster as Howard, holding a woman in a chokehold at a pay phone in East Los Angeles.

On Monday, deputies searched Howard's Norwalk home but have not disclosed what, if anything, was discovered. The suspect was not home at the time.

Tuesday's arrest was "pretty non-eventful," Blair said. Also present in the apartment were a man and woman whose relationship to Howard had yet to be determined, the officer said.

"We're very pleased he's in custody," she said. "Our detectives have been working all week on this case."

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