Source AP ©

"Dinnertime bandit" admits no guilt

The man suspected of being a "dinnertime bandit," extradited from Belgium after nine years on the run, pleaded not guilty to charges that he burglarized 17 wealthy Connecticut homes in the 1990s.

Alan W. Golder, 52, faces nearly 40 felony counts, including burglary, larceny, robbery and kidnapping, in the break-ins that occurred in the 1990s. He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 16 to argue for a reduction in his $3 million (2.04 million EUR) bond.

Authorities estimate nearly $1 million (680,000 EUR) in goods - often jewelry and gems - were taken in the burglaries in the upscale towns of Greenwich and Darien.

The suspect was dubbed the "dinnertime bandit" because the break-ins occurred at sundown or early evening, often when residents were home, sometimes having dinner. Authorities say most of the break-ins occurred through second-story windows and, once in, the suspect targeted bedrooms, moving about quietly and leaving little trace of anyone being there.

When Golder was arrested in 2006, prosecutors say he had been living in Belgium and Paris and had seven aliases. He was extradited Nov. 21.

His attorney, public defender Howard Ehring, said outside court Tuesday that Golder "did not live the lifestyle of a very wealthy man" during his time in Europe.

Prosecutors declined comment Tuesday.

Authorities have said Golder is suspected in burglaries in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but may not face charges because of a statue of limitations and a lack of witnesses. Ehring said Golder may not have been in those states when the burglaries occurred.