“Refrigerator Bandit” makes lower Magazine homes his buffet

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Composite sketch from 1400 block of Magazine Street

As many as 10 recent burglaries in the lower Magazine Street area may be attributable to a burglar apparently more interested in filling his belly than his wallet, earning him the unofficial nickname of the “Refrigerator Bandit” to detectives.

In one recent but fairly typical example, the as-yet-unidentified man broke into a Magazine Street apartment filled with expensive laptops and other electronics, but confined his thieving to the kitchen, police said.

“He didn’t even touch the computers,” said Sgt. Sabrina Richardson of the Sixth District’s property crimes division. “He took a pan of lasagna, a bottle of Gatorade and some loose change.”

Pricier items have been stolen in some cases, but a ransacked refrigerator seems to be a common element, Richardson said.

Composite sketch from burglary at 2400 block of Magazine Street

He’s commonly seen hanging around a residence well in advance of a burglary being reported – in one case, he actually knocked on the door and looked through the mail slot, but was startled when the resident answered – but the place was broken into several days later, police said. Some of his burglaries have been crimes of opportunity – homes with open windows or unlocked doors – but others have actually been forcibly entered. Because witnesses commonly describe him as having a big belly, Richardson said, “he has enough size that it could be bodily force.”

Witnesses in several of the cases have told police that the Refrigerator Bandit is fairly well known in the neighborhood, always walking in the blocks around St. Andrew, Terpsichore and Philip streets, Richardson said. He has been described as a white man in his late 40s with long, stringy,unkempt gray hair, about 5-foot-6 and with a large belly.

Anyone with information should call Sixth District Andrew Waldron at 658-6146 or Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

Contact Robert Morris at rmorris@NolaMessenger.com, or post your comment below.

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