Spider-Man mask-wearing serial burglary suspect arrested in Los Banos

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police say the man caught on camera wearing a Spider-Man mask is no superhero.

He's accused of stealing more than $30,000 worth of items from a variety of victims since October.

"Some of the places he hit was a school site where he stole food items," says Los Banos Police Sgt. Jesse Ceja. "Others were commercial businesses and some storage facilities."

Detectives say tips helped them identify the suspect as Lawrence Cecil Smith III. They served a search warrant Monday at his apartment on San Juan Street, where he'd been living and working as a maintenance person.

That's where they found all of the tools on a table plus an airsoft gun, a generator and many other items that were reported stolen. They also discovered the clothes and mask that appeared in several surveillance videos.

"We kept searching and searching, and it was the last item I found," says Los Banos Police Det. Lyle Kelley. "I found it in his van under his seat in his van, so I was very excited to find the mask."

Authorities are now working to return the items they recovered to their rightful owners, including tree sapling. It was taken from a storage unit rented by a mobile vendor who did not want to be identified.

He told us the suspect also stole a bicycle, food items, and other supplies he relies on to make a living.

"They steal from us, and then we have to start over again," the victim said.

The victim made a police report and gave specific details about his stolen goods, including the tree he received from a friend in Oregon and its unique planter.

He later spotted it on the suspect's front porch while out making his rounds, which helped detectives get the search warrant they needed and ultimately make an arrest.

The man says he's relieved the masked burglar is now off the streets.

"I'm happy because he's not going to endanger more people," the victim said.

Unfortunately, many of that vendor's items were not recovered, but he's thankful to have his tree back because it has sentimental value.

Smith was booked into the John Latoracca Correctional Center for burglary and possessing stolen property.

A third charge was added one day later for attempting to post bail with money that was illegally obtained. He's being held on a $60,000 bond.

Detectives say they've already connected Lawrence Smith to seven burglaries, and they're reviewing nine other cases to see if he's responsible for those as well.
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