According to the City News Service, Brian Thomas Cruz, now 50, who went on a one-day crime spree in Pacific Palisades on August 11, 2014, has now been sentenced to 141 years to life in state prison.
Many residents may remember that Cruz, a transient, broke into a woman’s home in the 100 block of Marquez Place around 7:40 a.m.
According to an August 14 interview on KNX 1070, Palisades resident, Joan Forde, even tried to give the 44-year-old suspect a hug because she initially thought the transient was her grandson.
The resident said Cruz was shouting profanities and physically held on to her after he entered her residence. “The suspect then asked Forde to use her car and requested that she provide him with a disguise.
“‘So, I’m going through my closets and I wear a size two and he’s six feet tall, but I found a pair of sweatpants,’ she said. ‘And then he ran in the back and he said, ‘I’ve got to cut my hair, I’ve gotta look different’, so he took the scissors out of my drawer and cut his hair in the back and threw it in the sink.”
Cruz forced her at knifepoint to drive him, but she intentionally crashed her car into a construction vehicle near Palisades High School. Forde escaped serious injury and Cruz fled the vehicle.
The man then carjacked another woman, a teacher, and crashed that vehicle a short distance away. He went to another nearby home and forced another woman to surrender her car keys, according to Deputy District Attorney Eugene Hanrahan.
Cruz drove north on Pacific Coast Highway and ultimately reached Malibu before hitting several vehicles and eventually crashing again and being taken into custody.
Forde, Cruz and one other victim was hospitalized after the spree. Three cars were carjacked and at least six cars were damaged.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today (July 7) that Cruz was convicted in a non-jury trial of four felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon — an automobile; three counts of carjacking; two counts each of first-degree burglary with a person present; second-degree robbery; criminal threats; reckless driving causing specified injury; and one count each of kidnapping and false imprisonment by violence.