'Ninja Burglar' at work in Oakland Hills; person of interest in custody

Image 1 of 3

Oakland hills residents called him the "Ninja Burglar."  That's because of how he was dressed and what he was seen carrying under his arm.

On Monday evening, Oakland police told KTVU that a "person of interest," believed to be the person seen in the video, was in custody. 

KTVU obtained surveillance video showing a man who cased homes in Oakland's Montclair District in the hills for several hours. He's seen carrying something long. Police don't know what it is. Some people think it's a sword.

At about 3 a.m. Thursday, a woman was awakened by her pet cat. She saw a man in her courtyard on a street off Colton Boulevard. He was wearing a black knit cap, dark clothes and carrying a three-foot long object.

The woman says even with three lights that went on, he didn't run. He walked slowly away. Police were called, but they didn't find him.

Even as police were in the area, surveillance video shows the same man continued to lurking around for a couple more hours. At one point, the man stole several bikes, which were loaded into an SUV driven by a second suspect.

Oakland police say they believe the videos will help them make arrests. Officers canvassed the neighborhood Monday in hopes of getting more video.            

"Our department, we're confident with this type of evidence we've received, because of technology, that we're able to solve this case," said Officer Marco Marquez, a department spokesman before the person of interest was taken into custody. "It's really a good example of the community coming together, communicating with each other."

Police initially said they didn't know what the man was carrying.

"At this point, we can't determine or say specifically what that is, whether it's a weapon or a burglary tool."

Neighbors were unnerved, but police said it was the videos that helped officers identify and arrest the man. 

"I would rather not have anybody like that around me. I have two kids. I don't feel safe at all," said resident Jiyoung Kim as she pushed her young child in a toy stroller.

Michelle Flemmer, who works with clients who live in the hills, agreed. "I'd think I'd be pretty alarmed if I saw that when I was overnight at a client's house and i was there by myself," said Flemmer as she walked two client's dogs on Colton Boulevard.