In a sudden break in the case, police have arrested the man who allegedly threatened to bomb a jewelry store on Montana Avenue before escaping into the nearby neighborhood and vanishing for months. Santa Monica Police Department officers arrested Robert Art Abalov on a street corner just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to court records.

Detectives had been looking for the 32-year-old Los Angeles man since the Feb. 28th incident, when a man walked into Curated Los Angeles at 1603 Montana Avenue holding a suspicious device and demanded jewelry. The suspect dropped the merchandise, jumped into a getaway car and hit several parked cars, injuring one person, before fleeing the area on foot.

Police quickly identified Abalov as their suspect, and he has been on the run ever since. Lt. Saul Rodriguez with the SMDP declined to talk about the evidence that finally led them to Abalov’s location, simply saying it was the result of “good follow up.” He said Abalov was arrested on the street near the corner of Sepulveda and Venice Boulevards in West Los Angeles.

Abalov is charged with attempted robbery, criminal threats, malicious possession of a false bomb with intent to cause fear, false imprisonment, hit and run and grand theft. He remains in a Sheriff’s County jail on $170,000 bail. He could not be reached for comment on the charges.

A team of more than 30 officers, K9s and SWAT searched for the suspect immediately after the February incident. After he crashed into the parked cars, he got out of his vehicle and ran north through the NOMA neighborhood.

The Sheriff’s Department Bomb squad disabled the suspicious device left behind, which had two small propane canisters, a charging device, a timer, cables and wires. A bomb squad robot inspected the device and detonated it. Lt. Rodriguez said investigators later determined the device was inert.

The incident happened a month after L’Oliphant Jewelry Store was robbed, disturbing other Montana Avenue merchants and nearby residents. A woman was arrested in that incident and police did not believe the two robberies were related.

Kate Cagle

Senior reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press