SoCal Hate Crime Burglar Targeted Gay Residents, Cops Say

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Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 2:41 PM

  • Piermartiri via Palm Springs PD.
There are cat burglars and dognappers, home-invasion robbers and door-knock artists. But Southern California now has a new kind of alleged criminal, one who apparently preys on those who are gay.

Yep. This suspect appeared to have allegedly targeted the homes of gay men for burglary and hate crime, at least according to our reading of what police are saying about the case today:

Authorities in Palm Springs would only say in a statement sent to the Weekly and other outlets that the suspect, ID'd as 26-year-old Paul Claudio Piermartiri, allegedly "targeted the victims based on their ethnicity and sexual orientation:"

Palm Springs police Sgt. Harvey Reed told the Weekly he couldn't elaborate further because evidence and details that only the suspect would know are being put together for the case against him.

It all started at 3:10 a.m. Friday in the 400 block of Bella Cara Way when cops responded to a report of a burglary that had just happened, according to the police statement.

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In that case, a 49-year-old man said that he awoke to find a suspect standing over him, cops said. He shouted and the guy ran, only to injure himself, the Palm Springs police stated.

That injury would lead to Piermartiri, who was found at 5:35 a.m. seeking treatment at an area hospital, authorities said.

Detectives on the case determined that two other residences not far from the 49-year-old's had been burglarized, according to our reading of the Palm Springs police statement.

Piermartiri was arrested on suspicion of three counts of burglary, committing a hate crime and violating probation, cops said.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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