A burglary at a Bodega Bay grocery store early Monday sparked an extensive West Marin County hunt for the suspect, believed to be a serial burglar of more than a dozen businesses in Sonoma and Marin counties, sheriff's officials reported.

The man, an East Bay resident who officials would not identify, eluded Marin deputies who were combing hills around Tomales. Search teams were staked out throughout the area and would remain on the lookout throughout the night, Marin Sheriff's Lt. Doug Pittman said.

Early Monday, Marin deputies spotted the suspect's white sedan parked in Tomales. Deputies apparently interrupted him trying to burglarize Diekmann's market there, Lt. Jamie Scardina said. The man fled on foot into the nearby hills.

He was last seen in Tomales and had been spotted by a rancher who said the man told him his car had broken down, Scardina said.

Detectives have been trying to catch him in connection with burglaries at numerous markets, convenience stores and other businesses from Cloverdale to Marin. The burglar has broken into safes and so far has stolen several thousand dollars, officials said.

He's a suspect in at least eight to 10 burglaries in the past several months in Sonoma County, Sonoma County Sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said.

Scardina said the man is a suspect in three Marin County commercial burglaries.

The 6-foot tall, 165-pound black man is a suspect in a Sept. 6 break-in at Bill's Market in Graton.

A surveillance video from the store depicted a brazen hourlong effort as the man disabled an alarm system and jimmied open a window, at times pausing to look over his shoulder and to step away.

Once inside, sparks flew as he used a power tool to break into a box below a register.

On Monday, the target was Diekmann's Bay in Bodega Bay, sheriff's officials said.

At about 3:15 a.m., an alarm at the longtime coastal market sounded. A deputy arrived to find the store had been broken into and the burglar was gone.

Surveillance videotapes from past burglaries showed the man apparently drove a white sedan.Marin County deputies were alerted to watch for such a car and it was spotted in Tomales, where the other Diekmann's store is.

Sonoma County detectives were expected to serve a search warrant on the man's home on Monday, O'Leary said.