Salt Lake police hope a camera at an automatic teller machine helps them find the man linked to two violent home invasions in the East Bench area.
Detectives on Thursday released a photograph of the assailant taken minutes after he bound a woman with telephone cord and threatened her with a gun in her Michigan Avenue home.The ATM camera snapped the photo while the man apparently used the woman's credit cards and her secret bank number to withdraw cash. The camera also caught the front, side and part of the rear of the assailant's car.
Detectives have worked the case around the clock, posting officers inside the woman's home and throughout East Bench neighborhoods. They also checked Utah motor vehicle registrations and matched them against possible names of the suspect.
"We've come up empty-handed. It could be that the guy is from out of state and that we've scared him off," said Lt. Norm Thompson.
Police believe the man in the photograph is the masked assailant who confronted the woman outside her house on the 1800 East block of Michigan Avenue.
The homeowner had stepped outside to get her cat about 10:45 p.m. when she was forced back inside by the gunman.
"Where is your husband and kids?" he asked, before forcing her to sit in a chair. The victim responded that she had just put her husband, who is a quadriplegic, to bed and showed the burglar his bedroom.
The gunman then rummaged through the homeowner's purse and pocketed $15 and two credit cards, demanding her personal identification numbers and telling her he had killed a woman in California for giving him a bogus number.
The man, described as having a thin build and an Asian accent, then tied the woman's hands with a phone cord and stuck a piece of gray duct tape over her mouth before leaving through the back door.
The homeowner called police moments after wiggling free. Later that night, the same man called the house and threatened the woman again.
Police say the masked assailant could also be the gunman who shot a different woman five nights later a few blocks away.
In that incident, a woman told police a masked man knocked on the door of her apartment as she sat at a computer beneath a nearby window. The man rapped once and flatly said, "Open the door." The woman refused and replied, "I'm calling 911," to which the gunman responded, "I'll shoot you."
One bullet shattered the window and pierced the woman's leg but did not strike any bone or artery, according to a police report.
The woman lives with her brother and sister-in-law in the apartment on the 1500 East block of Sherman Avenue (1330 South). None of the three recognized the intruder and had no idea what he may have wanted from the home.
Police think the two crimes may be linked because the assailant wore a black ski mask in both incidents and brandished a similar-looking gun.
Detectives are looking for the man and his car, a white 1985-89 Toyota Celica notchback with pop-up headlights. It has an aftermarket sunroof and distinctive medallions on chains hanging from the rear-view mirror.
Anyone with information can call the Salt Lake Police Department anonymously at 799-3000.