SANTA CRUZ -- Deputies are warning residents about a gunman in an interrupted burglary in the Soquel Hills who led Sonoma County sheriff's deputies on a chase last week.
Deputies said he has been on a spree of stealing license plates in Santa Cruz County, and authorities are looking for more victims to help piece together the case.
The cases were linked this week after computer equipment from a Ben Lomond car burglary was found in a backpack that the man ditched in the Marin County city of Woodacre, deputies said. The suspect has not been found or identified, and deputies said he is armed and dangerous.
"This guy needs to be taken off the streets," said Sonoma County detective Sgt. Mike Raasch.
Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputy April Skalland said there are likely more victims who have not yet noticed their plates missing or swapped.
A surveillance video of the man was released to the media last week with footage of him taking items from a pickup on Hihn Road near Ben Lomond about 10:30 p.m. March 31.
April 2, the man broke into a home on Chardonnay Road in the Soquel Hills and started to take items when the homeowner came home. The burglar pointed a handgun at the homeowner, tried to pepper spray him and fled in a stolen Lexus.
He then drove to Hall Ranch Road in the Soquel Hills, ditched the Lexus and stole a 1997 blue Ford Explorer with California license plate 3TIC192. The Ford has not been found.
appeared 5 feet 9 inches tall with a small beard. He wore a black beanie, black shorts, and a black sweatshirt or jacket, Skalland said.
On Friday, a GMC Acadia was reported stolen in Sonoma County, Raasch said. The GMC had an OnStar GPS system, which helped deputies find it parked in Petaluma about 5 a.m. A man sleeping was in it.
Deputies talked to him, and he threatened to kill them, Raasch said. The deputies shot him twice with a Taser gun but he removed the Taser darts, slammed a car door on the deputy's arm and fled in the GMC.
A manhunt that day included a helicopter, K9 units and all-terrain vehicles. Deputies tracked the GMC to Woodacre, where he abandoned it and was seen carrying a backpack, which he later ditched.
He escaped to a hilly area and burglarized another home, Raasch said. His pattern has been to enter through unlocked doors of cars and homes, deputies said.
"This guy is making his way all over," Raasch said. "We'll figure out who it is. It's just a matter of time."
Stolen license plates in Santa Cruz County can be reported to the California Highway Patrol at 831-662-0511.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information to call the investigations division at 831-454-2311 or the anonymous tip line at 831-454-5995.
Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter at Twitter.com/sbaxter--sc
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