As the manhunt for theft suspect Dimitri Storm enters its second month, law enforcement officials have expressed mounting frustration with trying to catch a man whom they describe as “living hand-to-mouth committing crimes.”
At a May 2 press conference, Chief Deputy Jim Hart of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said that while Storm is wanted for crimes up and down the state, he has returned to the San Lorenzo Valley multiple times because of his familiarity with the area.
“The most affected area is in the San Lorenzo Valley and Boulder Creek areas,” Hart said. “He grew up in this area.”
Storm is alleged to have stolen at least 10 vehicles and burglarized about 40 more in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Mateo, Marin and Sonoma counties. He is also alleged to have threatened police officers and evaded capture in high-speed pursuits in Marin County and in the Big Sur area.
Hart said Storm is believed to be acting alone, with no accomplices. The chief deputy said Storm sleeps inside the vehicles he allegedly steals and buys food and fuel with money he finds inside them.
“He’s very mobile, he’s very transient,” he said. “He’ll get rid of a car, then an hour or two later, another car in the area will be stolen.”
Hart said Storm has almost exclusively targeted unlocked vehicles and has stolen only vehicles with the keys left inside.
“He’s targeting crimes of opportunity,” he said.
Hart advised homeowners to lock their vehicles and homes and to check their license plates, as Storm is known to steal plates to disguise the vehicles he allegedly steals.
In an effort to apprehend Storm, Hart said additional deputies were deployed to the San Lorenzo Valley and Summit Road areas.
“We can have deputies in the area very shortly,” he said.
Hart advised that while Storm has not become increasingly violent, residents should call police immediately if they spot him and not attempt to apprehend him themselves.
“We really want to urge people not to confront this person,” he said. “He’s highly unpredictable.
Anyone with information about Storm’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office at 454-2414 or dial 911.
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