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Suspect in break-in at home of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is charged with burglary, prosecutors say

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images/File via CNN Newsource

Originally Published: 21 APR 24 21:49 ET

Updated: 24 APR 24 02:59 ET

By Cindy Von Quednow and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) — A 29-year-old man has been charged with burglary in connection with a break-in at Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’ official residence that happened over the weekend while the mayor, her daughter, son-in-law and newborn grandson were inside, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Ephraim Matthew Hunter faces felony counts of burglary and vandalism, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office said.

“We believe that he was targeting the mayor,” Gascón said during a news conference Tuesday, without elaborating whether he meant Bass personally or her property.

“There were actions while he was inside the property that are consistent with the fact that he knew that this was the mayor’s home and that he was looking for her,” he said, adding the investigation was ongoing.

Pressed by reporters, Gascón declined to give more details about evidence that investigators obtained, but said “we’re going under the assumption that he knew it was her residence.” It’s unclear why Hunter would have been targeting the mayor, he said.

Hunter is accused of entering the home Sunday morning by smashing a rear glass door, causing somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of damage, the district attorney’s office said in a news release. His hand was cut during the ordeal, leaving “blood stains throughout the house,” the release reads.

Hunter entered the home “with the intent to commit larceny and any felony,” a criminal complaint filed in the case alleges.

The break-in happened during security officers’ morning shift change when there was a “short gap” of time when an officer was not on the property, Los Angeles Police Chief Dominic Choi said Tuesday. Police have remedied the scheduling gap with an overlap in shifts, he said.

Hunter pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles County public defender’s office, which is representing him. He is being held with bail set at $100,000, prosecutors said.

No one in Bass’s family was harmed, a spokesperson for the Democratic mayor said. The mayor’s official residence, the Getty House, is a nondescript Tudor-style home that sits on a corner in the Windsor Square neighborhood and fits seamlessly into its lineup of historic mansions.

If convicted of the charges, Hunter could receive a prison sentence of up to 13 years and four months.

Hunter was convicted of armed robbery in Massachusetts in 2016, according to the criminal complaint.

A spokesperson for Bass, Zach Seidl, said Sunday: “The Mayor is grateful to LAPD for responding and arresting the suspect.”

Gascón said he is “profoundly relieved that Mayor Karen Bass and her family emerged unharmed.”

“While we’re grateful for their physical safety, this violent intrusion will not be tolerated. We’re fully committed to ensuring that the perpetrator is swiftly brought to justice and held accountable for his actions,” the district attorney added.

This is the second time Bass has been the victim of a home break-in as a public official.

In September 2022, while she was serving in the US House of Representatives and running for mayor, a different home in which Bass was living was burglarized and two firearms were stolen.

“It’s unnerving and, unfortunately, it’s something that far too many Angelenos have faced,” she said at the time.

Two men later pleaded no contest to burglary and grand theft charges in the case.

CNN’s Josh Campbell and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.

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