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Man arraigned for crime spree ending in Malibu

Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
1:35 pm PDT August 14, 2014

A man was charged with more than a dozen felonies at an arraignment on Thursday, Aug. 14, for a string of crimes that ended with a car collision in Malibu earlier this week.

Brian Cruz, a transient, is accused of a number of felonies committed on Monday, Aug. 11, including four counts of assault with a deadly weapon; three counts of carjacking; two counts of each first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, criminal threats and reckless driving causing injury; as well as one count of each kidnapping and false imprisonment by violence.

Cruz was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run; if convicted of all charges, he faces life imprisonment, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Cruz’s 45-minute crime spree ended in Malibu at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road on Monday, when he collided an SUV with another motorist.

The approximately 8:30 a.m. collision caused a shutdown of northbound PCH traffic at Malibu Canyon Road that was relieved approximately an hour later.

Sgt. Philip Brooks of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Malibu-Lost Hills Station said Cruz was driving a white Lexus SUV that he is accused of stealing from a residence in Pacific Palisades.

“The suspect was driving at a high rate of speed on the northbound side of PCH and collided head-on with another vehicle in the intersection at Malibu Canyon Road,” he said.

Brooks said both vehicles sustained “severe damage” during the collision, causing two occupants of the other vehicle to be airlifted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Cruz was sent to a hospital via ground transportation.

Cruz is accused of beginning a string of crimes at approximately 7:40 a.m. on Monday when he broke into an apartment on the 100 block of Marquez Place in Pacific Palisades, said Sgt. Don Montelibano of the Los Angeles Police Department’s West L.A. Station.

He is said to have ordered apartment’s occupant, an elderly woman, to drive him to a location in the San Fernando Valley while threatening her with a box cutter.

Calling the initial incident a kidnapping, LAPD Capt. Brian Thomas said at a press conference hours after the incident that the woman intentionally crashed her vehicle into the back of a construction vehicle near Palisades Charter High School.

Cruz is accused of then carjacking a Toyota from a young woman and driving north, crashing the second vehicle into four parked cars on Livorno Drive, where he is also accused of breaking into a second residence and ordering its occupants to give him the keys to a white Lexus SUV.

The suspect is accused of colliding the Lexus with two other cars on PCH before crossing into Malibu city limits, where LAPD notified LASD Malibu-Lost Hills deputies of the suspect’s presence in the area.

Brooks said at no point did a car chase with officers from either department occur, although Cruz is said to have committed two hit-and-run incidents within Malibu city limits before the final collision at the intersection of PCH and Malibu Canyon Road.