Monday, May 3, 2010

Hunt for 'Jason Bourne' who kept arms cache in penthouse overlooking U.S. federal bank Read more:

Police are hunting a man who fled his high-rise Los Angeles penthouse 'Jason Bourne style' leaving weapons, counterfeiting equipment and passports in multiple names.

Brian Alexik slipped out of the window and climbed down the fire escape after refusing to let in officers.

A neighbour had knocked on the door after smelling suspicious fumes but Alexik refused to open up, even when firefighters and then police arrived.

Brian Alexik

Many faces: Photographs of Brian Alexik show him sporting a variety of haircuts and both shaven and bearded

Officers broke down the door just as the 33-year-old fled shouldering several duffel bags.

'He escaped like Jason Bourne,' said Deputy Chief Mike Downing of the LAPD Counter-terrorism Bureau, referring to the character played by Matt Damon in the hit film franchise based on the espionage thrillers by Robert Ludlum.

Police searched the apartment after Alexik vanished 11 days ago, uncovering a cache of weapons including an AK-47 assault rifle.

They also found sophisticated counterfeiting equipment and $15,000 in extremely accurate fake $100 banknotes.

Several different identifications, including passports, listed different aliases for him.

Work of fiction: Matt Damon stars as Jason Bourne in the Bourne Ultimatum

Work of fiction: Matt Damon stars as Jason Bourne in the Bourne Identity

Photographs show Alexik with significantly different looks - clean-shaven in one, but heavier and bearded in another.

But what really piqued the interest of detectives was a camera tripod and the fact that the penthouse balcony had a perfect view of the building that houses the city's Federal Reserve - the U.S. equivalent of the Bank of England.

Alexik, from New Jersey, kept to himself in the penthouse and paid his $3,400 (£2,200) monthly rent in advance with wads of cash.

Police are now working with the U.S. Secret Service to uncover what Alexik was doing with all this equipment and counterfeit money, and whether the Federal Reserve featured in his schemes.

'The curiosity in this case is the strategic location in which he chose to operate,' Mr Downing said.

Los Angeles police searched several locations in the centre of the city and on Thursday announced the arrest of Gregory Koller, 32, an 'associate' of Alexik, on suspicion of narcotics possession.

Officers said 'items consistent with manufacturing weapons' had been found in a search of Koller's home and a warehouse.

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