Dmitri Storm, the man sought by law enforcement agencies in connection with a multi-county crime spree, remains free after allegedly leaving a trail of stolen vehicles and a growing list of charges in his wake.
His mother, a San Benito County resident, described her son’s alleged actions as being fueled by a history of paranoid schizophrenia.
Storm’s mother, who asked not to be named because of his alleged actions, said that her son was in flight mode and likely was not taking medication. She didn't say her son is guilty of the crime spree, just that she wants him to turn himself in so he doesn't get shot.
“He’s just running scared,” she said after contacting the Press-Banner by phone Thursday, April 18. “He doesn’t know what to do.”
She described the last time she had seen him — before the alleged spree began more than a month ago — and said that her son was paranoid and talking to himself.
“He is not on medication — he’s manic,” the mother said. “He really needs help.”
Since March 31, law enforcement agencies in no fewer than four counties –including Santa Cruz -- allege that Storm, a transient, has stolen at least eight vehicles, assaulted and threatened police officers, resisted arrest, brandished a firearm, committed multiple burglaries of vehicles and homes, and led police on a high-speed chase that led to the lockdown of several elementary schools in Marin County.
The last known whereabouts of Storm — described as white, about 5-feet, 9-inches tall with a small beard that might have been recently shaved — were in San Mateo County on Monday, April 21.
According the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, a call was received at 10 p.m. from a hitchhiker reporting that a man was acting erratically at a lookout point on Highway 35.
The hitchhiker said that she last saw the man, whom she later identified as Storm from a photograph -- fleeing down the Russian Ridge Hiking Trail.
Storm’s mother said he had served two years in a Santa Barbara jail beginning in 2001 and was admitted in 2003 to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, where doctors diagnosed him with schizophrenia.
The charges in 2001 were connected to a series of crimes attributed to Storm in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
In a Santa Cruz Sentinel article dated Sept. 5, 2001, Storm was known to commit burglaries, steal cars, switch license plates and lead high-speed chases.
Storm’s mother described their relationship as strained.
“He’s 42 years old — he doesn’t tell me things,” she said. “But when I saw him, he was in horrible, horrible shape.”
In addition to the jail stint described by his mother, Storm is on probation for a lewd conduct charge in Santa Cruz from January.
As part of his alleged recent crime spree, he has been charged with three counts of felony burglary, two counts of auto theft, theft of a firearm, and four weapons charges in Santa Cruz County alone.
Bail for Storm, once he is captured, will likely be set at $1 million, according to Santa Cruz County Superior Court documents.”
According to Deputy April Skalland of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Storm has an “extensive criminal history” in Santa Cruz County dating to 1989.
According to court records, Storm served 120 days in the Santa Cruz County Jail in 1997 for a drug conviction and was convicted and given probation for a felony burglary charge in 2001.
Skalland said authorities had contacted Storm’s mother, asking her to encourage her son to turn himself in.
“We’d love it if it ended peacefully,” she said. “We’re afraid somebody is going to get hurt.”
The mother said that she was afraid the chase would end in violence.
“I’m just really concerned with the way they’re handling this,” she said. “(Police) know that he’s extremely paranoid — they’re setting him up to kill him.”
Skalland said that a nonviolent conclusion to the chase is the ideal outcome for law enforcement agencies searching for Storm, but that public safety and the safety of officers is paramount.
“We’re very highly trained to do what we need to do to keep the public and officers safe,” she said.
Skalland added that regardless of Storm’s mental condition, he is considered to be armed, violent and dangerous.
“He has a long criminal history,” Skalland said. “Burglaries, assaults on officers — we have to take that all into account as well.”
n To comment, email reporter Joe Shreve at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 438-2500 or post a comment at www.pressbanner.com.