Suspect makes 'Jason Bourne' escape from LAPD, authorities say
It started 11 days ago when a resident at an upscale downtown L.A. high-rise tower smelled fumes coming from neighboring apartment. Firefighters knocked on the neighbor's door, but he refused to let them in.
They called police, who broke down the door of the penthouse just as the man inside was escaping through a back window and down a fire escape with multiple duffel bags over his shoulder.
“He escaped like Jason Bourne,” LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing of the Counter-terrorism Bureau, referring to the movie spy character. What they found next has begun a week-long mystery.
The apartment contained sophisticated counterfeiting equipment as well as a cache of weapons, including an AK-47. They also found stacks of counterfeit $100 bills totaling $15,000 and a camera tripod.
But detectives' interest was really heightened when they looked outside the window and saw that the penthouse balcony had a spot-on view of the U.S. Federal Reserve building on Grand Avenue. Detectives now are searching for the suspect, who leased the $3,400-a-month penthouse, paying in advance with stacks of cash.
They are not exactly sure whom they are dealing with because detectives found multiple identifications, including passports, listing different aliases for the man.
“The curiosity in this case is the strategic location in which he [Alexik] chose to operate,” Downing added. Photos found at his apartment show Alexik with significantly different looks.
In one photo, he’s clean-shaven, holding up a glass of wine and smiling. Another photo shows him somewhat heavier, with a beard and bandanna covering his forehead. Police are now working with the U.S. Secret Service.
Experts who have reviewed the counterfeit money say it's of extremely high quality. It appears Alexik kept to himself in the apartment.
The manager declined to comment on the case. The LAPD served search warrants at several downtown locations and on Thursday announced the arrest of a man whom officials describe as an “associate” of Alexik. Gregory Koller, 32, was booked on suspicion of narcotics possession.
Police said a search of his home and a downtown warehouse found evidence “items consistent with manufacturing weapons.” LAPD Capt. Steven Sambar, head of the department’s major crimes division, said there was also evidence found linking Koller to Alexik.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton