Suspected robber on the loose in Isla Vista

Law enforcement warns residents to be on alert following a robbery

POSTED: 10:08 PM PDT May 09, 2013    UPDATED: 02:08 PM PDT May 10, 2013 
ISLA VISTA, Calif. -

Isla Vista residents are being asked to stay on alert after a man robbed a woman in broad daylight.

It happened just after 1:30 on Thursday afternoon, as the victim was walking home and talking on her cell phone.

The guy ran up to her and snatched her phone," said the victim's neighbor, Guneet Nkaur.

"She turned. She had pepper spray, and he ran," added Lt. Ray Vuillemainroy.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department conducted a massive manhunt.

"There were a bunch of cops looking through bushes and literally jumping fences. They told everyone to get inside. There was a helicopter circling the area," said Isla Vista resident, Jordan Hall.  The suspect got away. Officials said this kind of brazen crime is on the rise.

Residents tell NewsChannel 3 they've also seen an increase in bike thefts. Isla Vista foot patrol have a warning for residents.

"Be aware of your surroundings.  Walk in pairs if possible. Just be careful," said Vuillemainroy.