Armed man wanted after string of San Fernando Valley burglaries frequents the area, police say

Police say reports of a man who matched the description of the suspect came through near the Shadow Hills area Tuesday morning.
SHADOW HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After an extensive search Tuesday morning, police are still looking for a man who was captured on home surveillance video holding a rifle and sneaking into backyards in the middle of the night.

As part of an early morning search operation, officers with the Los Angeles Police Department surrounded a property owned by LADWP just off the 210 Freeway in Shadow Hills. Police say reports of a man who matched the description of the suspect came through near the area.

A total of three LAPD SWAT armored vehicles and several crews and investigators shut down Sunland Boulevard during the search.

According to an update issued by LAPD Lt. Eddie Ginter, the suspect wasn't found, but the search remains ongoing.

"He's definitely somebody who knows these hills well. He's very familiar with the terrain," said Ginter.

Police say the suspect is tied to a string of burglaries in the area - up to 10, according to Ginter. That includes homes and commercial properties. Over the last few weeks, the man has been seen on several people's properties.

Ginter confirmed on Tuesday the man has gotten away with an AR-15 and a BB gun.

Residents, however, have become increasingly alarmed after one recent video obtained by Eyewitness News shows the man creeping around a home's front porch and holding a rifle.

Ginter said he and his team believe the suspect was holding 308 hunting-style rifle with a scope, though the suspect doesn't seem to be targeting residents.

"Every video that we've seen, he's just carrying it down by his side," said Ginter. "Not sure why he's carrying it, but as of now, no, we have not had any reports of him pointing the gun at anybody or threatening anybody."

Other home security videos shared by neighbors show him prowling other properties.

A resident said the man dropped two guns while being chased by police and escaped by running off into the hills. He reappeared the next night with a clean shave and with more guns, according to the resident.

Witnesses say they've turned over their videos to LAPD. Those videos are now part of the investigation.

"We've already had great tips," said Ginter. "Calls have been coming in, videos coming in ... being able to use that synergy of everybody altogether. With our resources, we can't be at every street at all times."

Residents add police have tried tracking down the man using a helicopter to find out where he may be hiding.

Local business owner Fred Reno said he's seen several large police responses in the area recently. He added that even before the suspect began to appear, he felt crime has been up and hopes the suspect is caught before someone gets hurt.

"I don't know what else to do but to be more vigilant and inform other neighbors," he said.

The suspect is being described as a Hispanic man with a thin build and a tattoo of a marijuana leaf on his right shoulder. Anyone who may have seen the suspect is urged to contact police.

"If you see something, if you see anybody that doesn't belong in your neighborhood, anything out of the ordinary, especially if you see somebody carrying something that appears to be hidden in their jacket, call 911. Don't confront them," said Ginter.

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