We're starting to believe that the Inland Empire is Southern California's own version of Florida, that land of consistently bizarre headlines.

Police this week said that shots fired in the desert community of Joshua Tree led them to a suspect named Maurice Lewis. He was ” … dressed in women's clothing, wearing a mask and wielding a samurai sword,” according to a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department statement:

Luckily, the suspect wasn't the source of the gunfire.

Deputies say it was a neighbor who allegedly found Lewis in his backyard in the 8500 block of Weaver Lane at 2:26 a.m. Monday.

That neighbor opened fire with a warning shot after the suspect refused to comply with his order to lay down, cops said.

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The victim had been subject to eight thefts on his property and armed himself with a shotgun as a result, according to the department.

When Lewis allegedly set off a motion detector in the victim's backyard, the man was ready, police said. The suspect refused to lay down and fled.

He didn't get very far. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department:

A short time later, deputies contacted Lewis at his nearby residence on Park Blvd with cactus and injuries to his bare feet consistent with running through the desert. Deputies recovered stolen property belonging to the victim in Lewis's front yard where deputies learned Lewis had been selling stolen property at a “perpetual yard sale.”

Yep. Cue banjo music? Authorities say Lewis was booked on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

Got more 411 on this guy? Deputies would love to hear from you: 760-366-4175.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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