Cops: Calif. serial killer preying on homeless

This image taken from surveillance video at a Placentia, Calif., strip mall released by the Anaheim police Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, shows a person wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, top, approaching 53-year-old homeless man James McGillivray. McGillivray was later killed at the strip mall, and authorities believe the hooded figure is a suspect.
AP Photo/Anaheim Police

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Authorities said Wednesday they believe a serial killer was responsible for the slayings of three middle-aged homeless men who were stabbed to death last month.

Police have been warning homeless people throughout Orange County not to camp or sleep in secluded areas. Two of the killings took place at night and one in the late afternoon.

Authorities asked for the public's help in finding the killer. No possible motive has been disclosed.

"We believe these murders were likely committed by the same suspect and feel he is extremely dangerous to the public," Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that police have obtained a photograph of a suspect from a video surveillance camera in the area where the first victim was killed.

The photo shows a thin man dressed in a dark hoodie or sweater who appears to be lying in wait for his victim, according to the Times.

Investigators are also reviewing surveillance video of a 4-door Toyota automobile they believe is connected to the slayings.

"This vehicle is of particular interest to homicide investigators," Welter said.

The body of the first victim, a 53-year-old man, was found Dec. 21 near a Placentia shopping mall. The second victim, a 42-year-old man, was found on a riverbed trail in Anaheim a week later.

The third victim, who was 57, was discovered with fatal stab wounds outside a Yorba Linda library.