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Transient murders prompt increased OC patrols

January 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Police in three Orange County cities are teaming up to solve a series of murders of homeless men.

Three murders, three different cities, all involving homeless men over the past two weeks in Orange County. Police say the victims were stabbed to death.

"At this time we have not ruled out the possibility that there is one or more suspects, but all of those things are still under investigation," said Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn.

Police say they've formed a task force involving Anaheim, Placentia and Brea police departments. Since Saturday officers have increased patrols and have handed out fliers in areas frequented by homeless people warning them to be cautious.

"Make them aware that they are apparent targets of these attacks," said Dunn.

Some homeless men are being extra careful.

"I made me a little weapon. I made me a billy club," said Denny Albertson Monday.

So far police say they have no suspect description.

Investigators are looking at surveillance video from a camera above the spot where James McGillivray was killed. The 53-year-old's body was discovered December 21 outside a strip mall in Placentia.

A week later, 42-year-old transient Lloyd Middaugh was found stabbed to death near the Santa Ana River trail in Anaheim.

Two days after his murder, the bloody body of 57-year-old homeless man Paulus Smit was found next to the Yorba Linda Library.

"The officers are increasing their patrols in areas known to be frequented by the homeless," said Dunn.

Police are urging anyone who notices suspicious activity to report it right away.

"Call us with any information," said Dunn. "It could be very minor to you but it might be major to us, and we ask you to call the police."

If you have information related to the cases, contact Anaheim Police at (714) 765-1944.