A Lompoc man suspected of trying to extort a Palos Verdes Estates couple was in custody Friday morning following an extensive two-day search.
Police were called to a home on the 4200 block of Via Pinzon about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday by a woman who said two suspicious men were talking to her husband, claiming they were allowed to take the Jeep that belonged to the couple’s son and were pressuring the couple for the vehicle’s keys, according to the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department.
As officers questioned the two men, one admitted to having a knife, and officers attempted to search both men. But the man who said he had a knife ran off and was last seen running into a ravine area near Via Opata. The second suspect was quickly taken into custody on suspicion of attempted extortion, police said.
Officers, with assistance from Torrance Police Department drones, searched for the suspect but were unable to locate him. A search of the suspect’s car turned up a loaded magazine for a 9mm gun, extra ammunition, suspected methamphetamine and hypodermic needles, police said. No gun was recovered.
About 4 p.m. Wednesday, police responded to a call that the suspect had been spotted on Paseo Del Campo, but he ran off when officers arrived at the scene. A search of the area, with help from Torrance police and a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, failed to located the suspect, according to Palos Verdes Estates police.
About 9:45 a.m. Thursday, an employee of Palos Verdes Golf Club reported a suspect had just stolen a golf cart, and his description matched that of the man police had been searching for since Wednesday morning, police said.
Officers responded and were told by a jogger that the suspect was on Via Campesina. An officer in an unmarked car spotted the suspect in the passenger seat of a vehicle and began to follow the vehicle before stopping the vehicle at the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive West and Palos Verdes Drive North, where the suspect was taken into custody without incident, police said.
The driver was briefly detained but released once it was determined he had just agreed to give the suspect a ride and did not actually know him, according to police.
Both suspects have prior felony convictions and are from the Lompoc area, police said.
The names of the suspects were not disclosed.