Man Armed With Box Cutter Goes on ‘Crime Spree’ Across Pacific Palisades, Malibu: LAPD

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A man believed to have committed a violent “crime spree,” including two home invasions and two carjackings, left multiple vehicle crash sites across Pacific Palisades and Malibu on Monday, authorities said.

Three people were injured, including the suspect, who was in custody, according to police.

Police were first called about 7:45 a.m. to a luxury apartment complex in the 100 block of Marquez Place (map) in Pacific Palisades, where a man, identified as Brian Cruz, broke into a woman’s home, demanded property and forced her to drive him away, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

“He kidnapped her,” LAPD Capt. Brian Thomas said at a midday news conference. “As they’re driving away, the woman saw an opportunity to escape.”

She crashed into the back of a construction vehicle near Palisades Charter High School, Thomas said.

A second vehicle that was carjacked was left in front of the site of a home invasion on Aug. 11, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)
A second vehicle that was carjacked was left in front of the site of a home invasion on Aug. 11, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The 44-year-old suspect, armed with a box cutter, fled the crash and ran onto the high school campus, Thomas said.

Cruz then carjacked a female teacher at the school, Thomas said.

That second carjacked vehicle crashed into three to four parked vehicles while the driver was trying to get away from the area, Thomas said.

Then, in the 16800 block of West Sunset Boulevard (map), Cruz bailed out of the car and broke into another home, confronting two women there, Thomas said. He demanded their vehicle, which he stole and drove toward the Pacific Coast Highway, the captain said.

The vehicle crashed about 10 miles west of the site of the second home invasion, at Malibu Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Thomas said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which Thomas said had been alerted to the 45-minute “crime spree,” took Cruz into custody at the scene of the crash.

Two people injured in the crash were airlifted to a local hospital, while Cruz was transported on the ground. Detectives planned to interview the suspect at the hospital, Thomas said.

The collision victims were in stable condition, he said. No other victims were physically injured, Thomas said.

“It’s unusual … especially over here in the Palisades,” Thomas said. “This is a very quiet, safe community.”

The victims had not been identified, Thomas said.

The motive for the crime spree was not yet known, he said.

In a statement, Palisades Charter High Principal Pam Magee thanked those who helped in responding to the incident.

“This morning at approximately 7:40 a.m., a campus intruder fleeing from an earlier incident in the Palisades community accosted a faculty member and seized her car,” Magee wrote. “The intruder damaged multiple vehicles as he exited the parking lot. He was later apprehended and is now in police custody.”

A damaged white Lexus SUV was towed from the scene of the final crash, aerial video showed.

Malibu Canyon Road was closed, according to the city of Malibu. The PCH was closed but reopened.

The details of the situation changed repeatedly throughout the morning as police gathered information.

Data pix.
Data pix.

KTLA's Jennifer Thang contributed to this article.

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