A man convicted in connection with a “crime spree” that occurred in Pacific Palisades in 2014 has been sentenced to 141 years to life in prison, officials announced Tuesday.
Brian Thomas Cruz, 50, was found guilty of four felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of carjacking, two counts each of first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, criminal threats and reckless driving causing injury and one count each of kidnapping and false imprisonment by violence, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The incident unfolded on Aug. 11, 2014, when Cruz, described as a transient, went into a woman’s home and forced her to drive him in her car while threatening her with a knife.
The woman eventually crashed her car on purpose so she could run away, officials said. The victim suffered a bone fracture in the crash.
Cruz then carjacked a teacher near Palisades High School and rammed the stolen car into several other vehicles.
Cruz abandoned the second victim’s vehicle and went into another home where he forced a third woman to give up her car keys, officials said. He crashed that victim’s car into other vehicles again, before running a red light and crashing into a car along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.
About 45 minutes after the incident began, Cruz was hospitalized and eventually taken into custody.
Cruz had prior convictions for residential burglary, robbery and forcible rape between 1989 and 1995, the DA’s office said when the 2014 charges were announced.