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Santa Ana apartment intruder identified, in custody

March 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Police have identified a man they say broke into a Santa Ana apartment, held a woman captive and forced her to cook him a meal.

Tips led police to Thomas Walker, a local transient. Walker was already in custody for possession of meth, which police say he sold to undercover officers.

Authorities say Walker has a lengthy history of crime including burglary and drug possession. He was most recently freed on probation last September as part of a community supervision program.

Officials say he's violated his probation several times and now he's accused in two home invasion incidents in Santa Ana on Monday.

In the first incident, the suspect stole $100 from a woman's purse, but left without further incident when confronted by the woman's son.

In the second incident, the same suspect broke into another residence in the same apartment complex in the 500 block of North Lyon Street.

Police say during that incident, the man started smoking a meth pipe after telling the woman living there to cook him a meal. Then, he began taking the woman's picture with her camera.

He finally left after a couple hours, but not before stealing her son's bike.

A witness, who recognized Walker, had found the bicycle, not realizing it was stolen, and put it away for safekeeping.

"I just happened to have turned on the TV and seen the sketch of the guy and where it happened. The bike was mentioned and I had the evidence in my hand so I knew I had to call in," described the witness.

"She then sees the reports and the sketch of the suspect and realizes that, that day that suspect had come in asking about the bike that she had put away for safe keeping, and that he was possibly the suspect involved in the case," explained Cpl. Anthony Bertagna with Santa Ana police.

Coincidentally, Walker had been arrested on Wednesday at a hotel in the area during an undercover drug operation.

Investigators showed his photo to the victims who made a positive identification. Walker has a criminal record dating back to the 1980s. He is currently on probation and has several violations on his record.

"I couldn't deal with myself if I wouldn't have called and he would have hurt a kid or my kid of anybody around that area," said the witness.

Walker is being held on $1 million bail. Authorities will file charges in connection with the break-ins next week.


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