The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about robbery and burglary suspect Dimitri Storm, who victimizes those who leave their cars and homes unlocked, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
Storm, 42, is known to walk by cars and try the doors to see if any pop open, and also looks for unlocked doors at homes, sometimes hiding inside unoccupied dwellings, sheriff's spokeswoman Officer April Skalland said.
"He steals cars by looking for keys in the car," Skalland said. "The doors were unlocked to all of the homes he's gone into."
The sheriff's office wants to get the word out to the public to lock all doors and not leave their keys in their cars, Skalland said.
Storm is suspected in a series of robberies and burglaries in areas including Santa Cruz, Monterey, Marin and Sonoma counties, Skalland said.
Storm grew up in the rural San Lorenzo Valley in Santa Cruz County, knows the local mountains well and is aware that there are many places to hide there, Skalland said.
He is suspected of stealing items from inside cars in Ben Lomond between March 31 and April 2, then a swiping a GMC Acadia up north in Windsor in Sonoma County on April 5 before deputies in that county stopped him in Petaluma.
The deputies, who said Storm claimed to be armed and threatened to kill them, tried to capture him by using a Taser but he escaped by driving away into the Woodacre area in Marin County.
On April 10, Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies identified him as the suspect in a robbery and burglary in the 3800 block of Chardonnay Road in Santa Cruz.
Then on April 17 in the Carmel area in Monterey County, sheriff's deputies believed they spotted Storm in a stolen Lexus GS 350 but he eluded them by driving through a construction zone on the north end of Bixby Bridge.
The Lexus was found later that day abandoned on Garrapata Road but deputies said that Storm then stole a gray Jeep Cherokee, which deputies saw traveling west late that night on Palo Colorado Road in Carmel.
The deputies pursued the Jeep, which drove by and almost hit their patrol car head on, but lost the vehicle after it sped onto Highway 1.
On April 18, a person reported seeing the Jeep driving about 10 miles away in Carmel Heights. Monterey County deputies were unable to locate it. Storm is also believed to have picked up a female hitchhiker in San Mateo County on April 22.
He allegedly had a knife, and the hitchhiker was frightened before he dropped her off at a scenic viewpoint in Palo Alto, according to authorities.
A $500 reward has been offered for information leading to his capture.