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Search for alleged cop killer continues

Tim Willert

On the day Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka was laid to rest,

the search for his suspected killer continued unfulfilled.

Although multiple search warrants were served by Burbank Police

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and other agencies, including the sheriff’s department and LAPD,

David A. Garcia, 19, remained at large late Friday.

“We’re getting a lot of leads,” Burbank Police Sgt. William Berry

said. “We don’t know which ones are which, so we have to follow them

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all.”

Since Pavelka was killed Nov. 15, Burbank Police have served more

than 30 warrants and arrested more than 40 people -- including

Garcia’s father and three brothers -- in connection with his

disappearance.

Only Garcia’s 19-year-old twin brother, James, remains in custody.

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to accessory after the fact and weapons

possession charges.

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“The others have been released, but that doesn’t mean charges

won’t be filed at a later date,” Berry said.

Los Angeles and Burbank police, acting on a tip from a caller,

searched a residence in Sun Valley about 4 p.m. Friday, but came up

empty, according to Sgt. Cathy Plows of LAPD’s Media Relations Unit.

About an hour later, a Special Weapons and Tactics team,

investigating a citizen’s report of someone matching Garcia’s

description, converged on an underground parking structure on

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Rossmore Avenue, south of Melrose Avenue in Hancock Park.

“They set up a perimeter and called in a K-9 [unit], but nothing

was found,” Plows said.

A multi-jurisdictional task force made up of more than 200

federal, state and local officers continues to comb metropolitan Los

Angeles for Garcia, Berry said.

“The warrants will continue and the arrests will continue until

he’s in custody, which is the only possible end to this

investigation,” Berry said. “I urge him to make it easy on himself.”

Authorities continue to believe Garcia is hiding in the northwest

San Fernando Valley with the help of family and friends.

“We have no reason to believe he’s not in this area,” Berry said.

“I doubt if they [police] would be expending this much time in the

area if they didn’t believe he was here. We have no indication he’s

not.”

On Thursday, Burbank officials offered a $50,000 reward for

information leading to Garcia’s capture and possible conviction.

“Matthew Pavelka was one of our very own, and we will do whatever

is necessary to find his killer,” Burbank Mayor Stacey Murphy said

Thursday during a news conference at Burbank Police and Fire

headquarters. She was flanked by Police Chief Thomas Hoefel and City

Manager Mary Alvord.

The same day, Garcia’s father and two brothers appeared before the

media, urging him to turn himself in.

“Right now, more than any time in your life, you need to do what’s

right and turn yourself in,” Garcia’s father, Ernest, said.

Garcia’s mother was also questioned by police but was not

arrested, authorities said.

“The whole family is in jeopardy, yes,” Garcia’s attorney, Carlo

Spiga, said Thursday.

Reporter Ryan Carter

contributed to this report.


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