Updated at the bottom: After a swarm of top cops searched Big Bear fruitlessly all night, authorities conceded Friday that Dorner might be anywhere. First posted at 1:14 p.m. Thursday. Headline has changed.
A truck matching the one driven by Christopher Dorner, a disgraced ex-LAPD cop suspected to be on a murderous rampage, has been found in the Big Bear area, cops told the Weekly.
The burned-out vehicle has prompted a search for Dorner in the area.
The pickup Dorner was believed to be in is a …
… a dark-gray, 2005 Nissan Titan with the California plate 8D83987.
San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department officials confirmed the find this afternoon.
Dorner is suspected of fatally shooting the daughter of an LAPD manager who represented him unsuccessfully after he was accused by the department of lying and was ultimately fired.
Cops believe he fatally shot an officer in Riverside overnight.
[Update at 1:28 p.m.]: A Big Bear local told KTLA News that a school in the area was on lock-down as authorities focused on the area in their search for Dorner.
[Added at 1:36 p.m.]: A helicopter with as many as eight SWAT officers on-board was circling the area where the pickup was found in a search for Dorner, KTLA News reports.
[Added at 1:40 a.m.]: Jodi Miller of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department tells the station that the truck was found near Snow Summit.
She said the SWAT officers, who were dropped off in a remote area with their weapons drawn, belonged to that department.
[Added at 1:53 p.m.]: Thea Hardy, a spokeswoman for Big Bear Mountain Resort, says the search is focused more around Bear Mountain, which has been closed as a precaution.
“Bear Mountain is going to be closed for the afternoon,” she told us.
She said guests can go to Snow Summit guest services, which will honor their Bear Mountain lift tickets.
[Added at 1:58 p.m.]: There are reports saying authorities have confirmed the truck belongs to Dorner, but both the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the LAPD told the Weekly there is no confirmation on that … yet.
[Added at 2:12 p.m.]: Miller of the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department reiterated that the truck's provenance has not been confirmed.
In fact, she told the Weekly that it was so badly burned that authorities could not even confirm whether or not it's a Nissan Titan.
She said some schools in the area are on lock-down as a precaution, but that sheriff's officials did not order or request they take that precaution.
Miller confirmed that SWAT team members were sent to the area to search for Dorner.
[Update at 3:34]: San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon told reporters in Big Bear this afternoon that the truck was indeed allegedly used by Dorner.
A body was not found inside the vehicle, he said. The pickup was reported to cops about 2:30 p.m., according to the sheriff.
He said deputies continued to search for the suspect — including door-to-door efforts –and would set up checkpoints so that vehicles entering and exiting the area would be checked out.
[Update at 5:16 p.m.]: The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said in a statement tonight that the truck was actually found at 8:35 in the morning; it wasn't until 2:30 p.m. that they confirmed it was Dorner's.
That suggests the possibility that he could be long gone, but cops have set up checkpoints and continue to search the area. The department states:
Deputies are also positioned on Hwy 18 in Lucerne Valley, Hwy 330 in Highland and Hwy 18 in Yucaipa monitoring traffic that is travelling up and down the mountain.
The pickup was found near “Forest Road 2N10 and Club View,” according to the statement.
[Update at 8:25 a.m. Friday]: Tracks allegedly left by Dorner mysteriously led police nowhere, authorities said this morning, setting off extensive speculation by reporters and others at the scene of the search that Dorner may have created a clever misdirection by burning his car. San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said she was unaware of clues left by Dorner such as tracks from a second getaway car.
The massive dragnet that now includes northern Mexico, Nevada and Arizona was forced to waste time overnight when a hoaxer reported Dorner was inside a house in San Diego County.
According to the Associated Press:
There were people at home but Dorner wasn't one of them, said Lt. Jason Rothlein. Investigators have a pretty good idea who made the call and will be seek criminal charges, he said.
The local ski areas in Big Bear are open today, but Bear Valley schools are closed again due to the ongoing search. Authorities plan a midmorning press conference far to the east of Big Bear Lake.