Officers in Santa Monica were engaged in a manhunt Wednesday night following an armed robbery at a Montana Avenue jewelry store, police said.
The search was launched after a man went into Curated Los Angeles, a jewelry store at 1603 Montana Ave., around 5:30 p.m. and told an employee he had an explosive, according to Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez.
Investigators said the man was given merchandise, but did not say what it consisted of.
At some point, he fled in a car, which he crashed into several vehicles parked along the 300 block of 15th Street, police said. He then apparently abandoned the car and fled on foot.
A "suspicious device" was located on the ground outside the driver's side of the suspect's car, investigators said.
Rodriguez told KTLA it "looks like it might be something homemade," but that he couldn't be sure. Tactical bomb technicians from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detonated the device and are investigating its contents.
The suspect was considered dangerous and believed to be in an area north of Montana Avenue, Rodriguez said.
A perimeter had been set up between 14th and 16th streets to the west and east, and San Vicente Boulevard and Margarita Avenue to the north and south. Residents were asked to avoid the area and stay indoors.
But around 10:30 p.m., officers announced they had completely searched the perimeter and were reopening the roads to traffic. Police would remain in the area to continue the investigation.
A woman who had been in a nearby nail salon when the man entered the jewelry store said the incident shook the typically quiet neighborhood.
“A woman just was screaming, ‘Call the police,’ and everybody in the nail salon just sort of came out," Kathy Lavalle told KTLA. "It’s not what you normally hear around here, so it was startling.”
The suspect was described by police as a white or Latino man with a thin build and measuring about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark-colored shorts.
The man was fleeing on foot and had been seen jumping fences and traversing resident's yards, officers said.
No further details were immediately available.
Anyone with information can contact Santa Monica police at 310-458-8491.