MALIBU, CA (FOX 11/CNS) - Residents and visitors in the Malibu canyon area are still concerned about a mysterious man spotted in the area over the weekend.
More than a dozen Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies combed the area for hours on Saturday with the aid of three helicopters after a park worker reported spoke to a man who fit the description of a rifle-toting burglar spotted in the area last Sunday.
Bloodhounds were brought in to search the canyon south of the Malibu Creek State Park campgrounds, where 35-year-old Irvine resident Tristan Beaudette was shot to death in his tent June 22 while camping with his two daughters.
Sheriff's Enforcement Bureau deputies used a helicopter to ferry moret han a dozen crates of surveillance gear and other tactical items for a search that ended when it became too dark to safely continue, Deputy Dangelo Robinson said.
Sheriff's deputies kept hikers out of an area along the creek, south of Piuma.
"I'm trying to preserve a crime scene, we're bringing in bloodhounds," a deputy said.
Deputies have said the burglary suspect has not been connected to the shooting, but they are considering it a possibility.
"We haven't linked it (to Beaudette's killing), but we certainly haven't ruled it out," Sgt. Matthew Dunn of the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff'sstation said.
The suspect might be a transient living in the park, Dunn said.
Hikers expressed surprise when they found out a manhunt was happening and that low-flying helicopters they had seen were searching for an armed burglar.
Last Sunday, a commercial structure north of the park was burglarized, and surveillance video showed a man wearing what deputies called "tactical gear" and carrying a rifle. The man reportedly stole some food.
The man also was suspected of burglarizing the Calabasas water treatment plant at least once and another commercial building near Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road, Dunn said.
On Tuesday, there was a large manhunt in the canyon for that suspect, but he was not found. Tuesday night, some residents reported hearing gunfire.
Dunn said today a maintenance worker at the Tapia Park area about a mile south of the campground "encountered a person who matched the description of the armed commercial burglar."
Dunn said the man asked the park worker for a ride out of the canyon, "because he said there were so many police in the area." The maintenance worker left and called deputies.
Zohreen Adamjee reported live from Malibu:
People who call Malibu home are deeply rattled.
A series of crimes—including a man shot to death while camping and a recent burglary are still unsolved, and now—there are reports of a man with a rifle and tactical gear.. who may be roaming the woods.
In June, Tristan Beaudette was shot to death while camping with his daughters at Malibu Creek State Park.
Some residents fear the suspect could also be responsible for recent burglaries
"Sounds like it could be it because there's never been anything up there. Families go there all the time it's a large park lots of hiking trails," said resident David Garrett.
Last Sunday, sheriff deputies say surveillance video showed a rifle-toting burglar wearing tactical gear stealing food from a building north of the park.
They say the man is also suspected of burglarizing the Calabasas water treatment plant and another building near Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road.
Tuesday night, residents reported hearing gunfire. A large manhunt followed .
Cece Woods is tracking the story on a local website and says she spoke to an experienced gun user who made a similar report recently --
"He's a retired target shooter who knows the sound of gun shots and he reported to me and to authorities that he felt it was a rifle. So that is consistent potentially with what they may have found in this video," said Woods.
Over the weekend, a Tapia Park maintenance worker reported seeing someone matching the burglar's description.
Three choppers, dozens of deputies, and bloodhounds scoured the area.
But deputies couldn't find him and they called off the search Saturday night.
Woods is concerned learning about the search being called off.
"Very confused. Extremely confused that if that's the case, why haven't they released that information. This is the first I'm hearing about it," said Woods.
Now residents wonder if the suspect could be blending in, living among them.
"That's a bit concerning because they saw somebody and they have video of somebody with a rifle. Sounds like he's living up there. Sounds like it's hard to find him," said Garrett.
We reached out to sheriff deputies multiple times. They were not able to provide us with an update.