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Man is charged in Westside home-invasion heists

'Silverware Bandit' suspect is accused of robbery and assault. Elderly were targets.

August 27, 2008|Andrew Blankstein and Molly Hennessy-Fiske | Times Staff Writers

A South Los Angeles man was charged Tuesday in connection with a series of Westside home invasion robberies targeting elderly women.

Jeffrey Wayne Langford, 53, dubbed by police "the Silverware Bandit," was charged with three robberies since June, two in Los Angeles and one in Santa Monica. Police are investigating his involvement in at least a dozen others.

"He was just a window away from striking again," said Capt. Bruce Cremins of the Los Angeles Police Department. "He was casing people, he was very sophisticated, he was very experienced."

Langford was being held on $1.2-million bail. He faces three felony counts each of residential burglary and residential robbery, and one felony count each of assault, false imprisonment by violence and receiving stolen property, police said. He also was charged with one misdemeanor count of cutting a phone line.

Langford, who police said had a criminal record, faces a possible life sentence as a third-strike felon if convicted, authorities said.

He was arrested Friday in Santa Monica by Los Angeles police and booked on suspicion of robbery and assault. He is thought to be responsible for a string of crimes that began in late May and left Westside residents on edge.

Police dubbed the robber "the Silverware Bandit" because "he would ask the victims for their china and their silverware," said LAPD Officer Julianne Sohn.

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton held a news conference at the police headquarters Tuesday morning to discuss the case.

Investigators believe Langford is responsible for nine home invasion robberies in Los Angeles, two in Santa Monica and one in Culver City, as well as two attempted burglaries.

"The arrest was the result of intensive investigation conducted jointly by the Los Angeles and Santa Monica police departments and other entities," said LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck. "The physical arrest came as a result of work by our Special Investigations Section of the Robbery-Homicide Division."

Sources familiar with the investigation said the suspect would carefully case West Los Angeles neighborhoods, selecting his targets and returning later to carry out the robberies.

Langford had been tailed for weeks by Los Angeles police, who were tipped off by Beverly Hills police to a suspect in an old case who conducted crimes in a similar fashion, sources said.

In one incident, police said, the suspect was due to return a rental car used the same day the crime was committed.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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