Long Beach Police announced at a news conference on Feb. 10 that they had made arrests in a residential robbery series that also involved a sexual assault and an attempted sexual assault. Earlier that week, police had released an image and surveillance video depicting a person of interest and asked for the public’s help.
“Through the media coverage of the photo and video, someone saw that and believed they recognized the man and called police– and that’s one of the reasons we’re here today,” said Police Chief Robert Luna during the press conference. “I’m proud of the relentless work of our detectives, patrol officers and lab techs. The real heroes are the victims– their strength and courageous actions are admirable.”
On Feb. 10, around 9:45am, detectives detained and transported a person of interest to police headquarters, from the area of Century Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. The person of interest matched the description of the individual portrayed in a related news release. Police say that, after a thorough interview, they booked 39-year-old Melvin Earl Farmer Jr. of Lynwood for multiple charges in connection with the series. The charges included: residential robbery, rape by force or fear, oral copulation by force or injury, a death threat and assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm) with great bodily injury. At press time, Farmer was being held in Long Beach City Jail with bail set at $2,000,000. Police say his lengthy criminal history includes robbery and theft.
A 31-year-old female resident of Lynwood– Sophia Yim– was booked as an accomplice and was with Farmer when he was detained. Her identity is being withheld due to investigative reasons. She was originally being held in Long Beach City Jail with bail set at $20,000, but her updated charges are robbery with a bail of $100,000.
A motive for the suspects’ actions has yet to be determined, and the investigation remains active and ongoing.
Those who may have information regarding the investigation are encouraged to call Long Beach Police Department Sex Crimes Detective J. Kearns at (562) 570-7368 or email LBPDSexCrimes@longbeach.gov. Anonymous tips may be submitted through “LA Crime Stoppers” by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), downloading the “P3 Tips” app to a smart phone or visiting LACrimeStoppers.org.