EL CAJON — A man is in custody on suspicion of a series of thefts in East County, El Cajon Police Department announced Tuesday.

32-year-old Sterle Sisco was identified as the suspect in a string of shoplifting and robberies in El Cajon, and is facing charges of grand theft, robbery and a felony warrant for a probation violation.

On Monday, May 2, Sisco allegedly filled a suitcase with merchandise at the Target store located at 250 Broadway in El Cajon. He proceeded to exit the store with the merchandise-filled suitcase and a Schwinn bicycle, ECPD Lt. Randy Soulard said.

A Target loss prevention employee recognized Sisco from previous theft attempts, police said.

After police were notified from Target, they searched for the suspect in a drainage canal in the 1200 block of Grave Ave.

Officers located Sisco in possession of a suitcase and a bicycle in the drainage canal under Highway 67 near Magnolia Ave., ECPD said. After noticing officers he abandoned the suitcase and bicycle and attempted to flee from officers.

Other officers in the area were flagged down by a pedestrian who said he was the victim of a robbery at Cypress Lane and Pioneer Way. The victim said the man pushed him off his bike and stole it, along with his helmet and a sweater.

El Cajon officers on the ground and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department ASTREA helicopter searched the drainage canal for the suspect, where officers eventually caught up to Sisco and took him into custody, ECPD said.

Both the Target prevention loss employee and the robbery suspect independently identified Sisco as the suspect in both crimes.

Upon arrest, the suspect claimed he had swallowed some fentanyl, prompting him to be transported to a near by hospital, where he will remain with officers until cleared to be booked into a San Diego County jail.

Officers at the scene where Sisco was found recovered the stolen bicycle and suitcase which contained clothing and 4 LEGO sets, totaling $1,230, according to police.

 “During the course of this investigation, it was determined that Sisco lives at and frequents (a) large homeless encampment just outside of El Cajon city limits on North Magnolia (Avenue), near the Vernon Avenue overpass,” Soulard said.

Sisco is also a person of interest in at least 7 other thefts at the same Target store, ECPD said.

At the time of his arrest, Sisco was on probation stemming from an assault conviction, according to police.