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Long Beach police identify woman as accomplice in series of robberies of elderly victims

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Police have named a suspect they say was an accomplice in a weeklong string of robberies in Long Beach, one of which involved the rape of an elderly woman.

Sophia Yim, 31, of Lynwood was arrested Friday morning along with Melvin Earl Farmer Jr., who is accused of carrying out a string of robberies, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Yim, who was previously being held on $20,000 bail, has been booked on suspicion of robbery and is now being held on $100,000 bail. Police said Friday that they were withholding her name due to “investigative reasons.”

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Farmer is responsible for five robberies, four of which occurred at a senior housing center near Atlantic Avenue and Via Carmelitos, police said.

The fifth robbery happened at a separate location Thursday morning. Police say a man knocked on a 90-year-old woman’s door and forced his way inside when she opened it.

The suspect robbed her and attempted to sexually assault her, according to police, but she fought back and a panic alarm was activated during the struggle. The woman was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

After releasing surveillance footage to the media, police said, a tipster identified the suspect as Farmer.

Police say the robberies occurred between Feb. 2 and Thursday, and victims were 63 to 95 years old. In most of the cases, the assailant physically assaulted the women before taking purses, cellphones or cash. One was raped, police said.

Investigators have not said what role Yim played in the incidents, Sgt. James Richardson said. No information has been provided about the relationship between Yim and Farmer.

christine.maiduc@latimes.com

For more on California politics, follow @cmaiduc.

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