updated 12/11/2007 2:51:39 PM ET 2007-12-11T19:51:39

The man police say is the "dinnertime bandit" who broke into wealthy homes during the evening pleaded not guilty Tuesday, weeks after he was extradited from Belgium after nine years on the run.

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 will return to court Jan. 16 to argue for a reduction in his $3 million bond.

Authorities estimate nearly $1 million in goods were taken in the burglaries in the upscale towns of Greenwich and Darien.

The homes were broken into mostly at sundown or early evening when many residents were home and alarm systems were off. 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.

Prosecutors said when he was arrested in 2006 that 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.

Police say that sometimes Golder stole a neighbor's ladder to gain access to the second floor. He wore gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints and a black "ninja" type suit with a black hood with slits for eye holes, according to arrest records.

But he left some evidence behind, including a distinctive tread pattern from a sneaker, authorities say.

The Greenwich burglaries occurred while Golder was out on parole for the 1978 murder of Long Island, N.Y., real estate developer Lawrence Lever. Lever was fatally shot by an accomplice of Golder during a break-in at his home. Golder served 15 years in prison and was paroled in June 1996. The Greenwich burglaries began three months later.

Segments on Golder were broadcast repeatedly on television's "America's Most Wanted" and "Unsolved Mysteries" after his disappearance.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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