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Charges filed for 'Fedora bandit'

Police arrested Alex Tabatabaee, 31, on Sunday for allegedly robbing a shoe store. Police have linked him to several other robberies.

July 29, 2010|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Charges were filed Tuesday against the "Fedora bandit" — so dubbed for the hat he wore while allegedly robbing nine businesses, including three in Glendale, officials said.

Alex Tabatabaee, 31, who was on parole for committing seven other robberies, was arrested Sunday in Hollywood while allegedly robbing a Payless shoe store, Glendale Police Det. Keith Soboleski said.

Soboleski is still investigating whether Tabatabaee robbed another business that same day in San Fernando, he said.

Tabatabaee, a West Hills resident, is suspected to be responsible for robberies or failed attempts in Glendale, Burbank, the Los Angeles area, Topanga and Santa Monica.

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During the robberies, Tabatabaee allegedly wore a fedora hat, and tape on his chin and fingertips to avoid leaving fingerprints at the scene, Soboleski said.

The first robbery occurred in the Los Angeles area. Then, on July 12, a store in Santa Monica and a Payless shoe store on Colorado Street in Glendale were robbed, Soboleski said.

Tabatabaee returned to Santa Monica July 16 and allegedly robbed a Walgreens, Soboleski added.

Two days later, he allegedly robbed a Payless shoe store in Woodland Hills. That same day, Tabatabaee returned to Glendale and allegedly robbed a CVS Pharmacy on 3900 block of San Fernando Road, Soboleski said.

In that robbery, Tabatabaee told the cashier to "put the money in the bag" and not to push any alarm buttons, according to police reports.

Then he headed to Burbank and attempted to rob a Walgreens, Soboleski said.

Burbank Police could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

On July 20, Tabatabaee allegedly robbed the same Glendale Payless shoe store.

"He put a gun against the girl's ribcage and asked her if she wanted to live," Soboleski said.

When Tabatabaee returned the second time, the store employee immediately recognized him from the first robbery, Soboleski said.

The Glendale victims positively identified Tabatabaee as the man who allegedly robbed them.

Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast and Hollywood divisions, Glendale, Burbank, Santa Monica and San Fernando police departments have been working jointly on the case.

Prosecutors charged Tabatabaee with nine counts of felony second-degree robbery and attempted robbery, according to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Tabatabaee's arraignment has been continued twice in the past two days, court officials said. He is scheduled to be arraigned today, officials added.

If Tabatabaee is convicted of the robberies, it would be his third strike, which would mean 25 years to life in prison, Soboleski said.

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