A man dressed in black and carrying a rifle was arrested Wednesday near Malibu Creek State Park, where a camper was shot and killed as he slept in a tent in June, authorities said. A vast search involving Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, a helicopter, search-and-rescue teams and detectives led to the arrest of Anthony Rauda, 42, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said at an evening news conference.
The search was prompted by a series of at least eight burglaries over the past two years in the Calabasas-Malibu area in which food was stolen from local buildings. But for now, Rauda, who has a long criminal history, was only being held for a parole violation, the sheriff said.
Investigators had not ruled out a link to the shooting at the wilderness park, and the rifle will undergo ballistic testing to determine if it was used in any crimes, the sheriff said.
Only hours after his arrest, Rauda was being held without bail. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.
Authorities had been looking for someone who broke into several offices and other buildings in the Malibu Canyon area and stolen food as far back as October 2016, including a string of burglaries in the past three months, McDonnell said. The investigation intensified after an Oct. 4 theft in which surveillance video recorded the suspected burglar wearing a mask and armed with a rifle.
On Tuesday, someone used a rock to smash the glass front door of the Agoura Hills-Calabasas Community Center and stole food from a vending machine.
On Wednesday, dozens of deputies began searching the canyon area and after several hours saw fresh boot prints leading to a steep ravine about a mile north of a road, McDonnell said.
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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press