Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies temporarily blocked traffic on Alta Canyada Drive north of Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Tuesday, searching for a suspect who ran from a garage on Alta Park Lane after being discovered there by the homeowner.
Sheriff’s officials said the man may have been posing as a utility worker, going door to door to ask about residents’ electricity.
During the search, which took place shortly after noon, nearby Palm Crest Elementary School was placed on a temporary lockdown until officials could confirm there was no threat to the campus, one school employee reported.
Lt. Mark Slater, watch commander for the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, said the call came in at around 12:02 p.m. from a woman living on the 1600 block of Alta Park Lane.
“A person reported seeing someone in their garage, and when they confronted [the suspect], he took off running,” Slater said by phone Tuesday, as a sheriff’s helicopter circled the area.
In a public safety report to the La Cañada City Council Tuesday evening, Crescenta Valley Station Capt. Chris Blasnek said the suspect, still at large, may have been posing as a utility worker.
“We had a male suspect walking around with a yellow utility vest on knocking door to door, asking people if their electricity had gone off,” Blasnek told the council. “At one house, one of the residents confronted him in the garage and he took off running.”
Kerry Russell, office manager for Palm Crest Elementary, said the school went on lockdown after a paraprofessional at the school heard an announcement coming from the loudspeaker of the search helicopter and contacted the office.
“Just for precautionary reasons, we went on a lockdown until we could reach the sheriff’s department,” Russell said, estimating the incident lasted only a few minutes.
The suspect is described as a Latino man appearing to be in his 30s. Dep. Eric Matejka, who was at the scene Tuesday, said the suspect is thought to bear a neck tattoo that reads “Wendy.”
Blasnek told council members footage of the suspect was captured by a resident’s Ring video doorbell camera.
“I watched the video today and it was crystal clear,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll have an arrest shortly.”