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Suspect in 14 Valley Robberies Is Arrested

August 22, 2003|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

A man suspected of being the so-called "Read Between the Lines Bandit" was arrested in connection with a series of heists at more than a dozen San Fernando Valley businesses, Los Angeles police said Thursday.

George Millington, 42, of North Hollywood, a former movie studio prop master, is suspected in at least 14 robberies between June 24 and Aug. 8, primarily at Valley gas station mini-marts and convenience stores, said Capt. Al Michelena, head of the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division.

The bandit earned his nickname by approaching store cashiers, pulling out a replica handgun from the movie "Blade Runner" that was concealed in a newspaper and demanding cash, Michelena said.

Detectives noticed another pattern. The robber would return to the scene of previous crimes, targeting one business three times, LAPD officials said.

On Wednesday, a day when temperatures neared 100 degrees, detectives watching a Shell gas station in the 11000 block of Camarillo Street in North Hollywood noticed a man pulling up on a motorcycle dressed in a leather jacket and helmet. The man had a tattoo on his neck that matched one seen on the bandit in surveillance photos taken from numerous crime scenes.

When police arrested the man, later identified as Millington, they said he was carrying a replica handgun with a silencer and a laser sight in his backpack.

Millington told detectives he was "robbing because of his [drug] habit," Lt. Jim Grayson said.

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