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Serial carjacker in San Fernando Valley eludes capture after elderly couple push him from their home [Updated]

January 10, 2010 | 12:52 pm

Authorities today continue to search for a man who appeared to be acting out of desperation as he threatened residents in the San Fernando Valley and stole two vehicles, a Los Angeles police captain said.

About 5:15 a.m. Saturday, the man unsuccessfully attempted to steal a car in the 7000 block of Calhoun Avenue in Van Nuys, police said. Thirty minutes later, he carjacked a vehicle in the parking lot of a doughnut shop two miles away near Victory Boulevard and Fulton Avenue.

The man crashed the vehicle into a tree about 6:20 a.m. near the Skirball Cultural Center, police said. The airbag was deployed and the vehicle rolled over, but the suspect was able to climb out through its sunroof. He is believed to have sustained injuries.

The suspect then entered the home of a couple in their 90s in the 3300 block of Red Rose Drive in Encino, police said. He demanded car keys, but the couple managed to push him outside and lock the door. At about 6:45 a.m., he was chased out of a nearby backyard by a homeowner.

By 8:15 a.m., the suspect was in the 3600 block of Sapphire Drive, where he stole a black Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer with the license plate 4WVP668, police said. The SUV has not been recovered.

[Updated at 3:22 p.m.: A suspect has been detained but not arrested, said Officer Norma Eisenman, an LAPD spokeswoman. His name was not given.]

Police believe the man was reacting to an earlier incident or in a state of personal crisis. “He was not just a criminal, but a desperate and reckless criminal,” Capt. John Egan of the West Valley station said in a statement.

The suspect is described as a black man with a beard and dreadlocks or cornrows, age 30 to 35 and about 6 feet tall and 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing black pants and a tan shirt.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (818) 374-7730 or (877)-LAPD-24-7. Anonymous tipsters may call (800) 222-TIPS.

-- Corina Knoll

Image: A Google map from the LAPD of sites in a carjacker's spree.  Credit: LAPD