A 56-year-old man who had been living in a well-furnished tree house in Pomona's Ganesha Hills area for months has been arrested on suspicion of burglarizing a neighborhood home, police said Thursday.
Mark Duda was arrested Tuesday, according to the Pomona Police Department.
A resident had reported on April 18 that he recognized Duda when he saw him leaving his residence with items from his home and garage, police said.
About 9 p.m. Tuesday, officers learned "that someone was living and hanging out in a very well-built and modern tree house in Ganesha Hills," according to a police statement. The tree house was disguised, nestled into a tree in the hills just off McKinley Avenue.
Julio Loza, a resident of the area, found the situation "very puzzling."
"I wasn't aware he was living 100 feet from my house," Loza said.
The police department's air and K-9 units were deployed. The helicopter's heat-sensing FLIR system detected something in the heavy brush and trees in the area where officers were searching and a short time later, they found the tree house, which was hidden deep into the hillside, police said.
"Numerous verbal commands were given and the suspect eventually climbed down..." and was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary, police said.
The tree house was fairly well-appointed, with a barbecue and lighting, and even a saxophone and cuckoo clock, police said. It was set to be torn down Friday.
Loza said more homeless people have been moving into the area.
"On the one hand, we all have a soft spot for the homeless and we all like to help," he said, "but on the other hand, it's a dangerous situation not only for the neighborhood but also for him because we've had fires started in this hills before."
Duda was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to sheriff's inmate records.