YUBA CITY --
You can just smell the sweet bliss of treat heaven swarming into the Cookie Tree in Yuba City. That's what brings longtime customer Patti Rutkowski and her family back every time.
"My niece... she's a cookie monster," Rutkowski said.
But Friday morning, the only thing swarming in were US Marshals, searching for a fugitive. Investigators said Michael Steven Hawkins, also known as "Zombie Mike," has been on the run since 2013.
"He's like, 'We think this guy is in the area. We are canvassing the area right now.'" Cookie Tree employee, Julie Jenkins Ahonen said.
In New York, he was charged with rape, aggravated sex abuse, and criminal sex acts with people incapable of consent. They said one of his victims was wheelchair-bound.
Marshals received intel that Hawkins somehow made it to the Yuba City and Marysville area. So they immediately notified local residents and business owners.
"What would stop him from coming into a business of all women? I mean, we have one guy, but pretty much of all women," Jenkins Ahonen said. "You don't know what people are capable of."
U.S. Marshals said Hawkins is known to travel the country through a carnival. But with no fairs going on now in the area, they believe he may be homeless. So they spent may hours searching popular homeless encampment areas.
Investigators said Hawkins does have a few distinguishing features. He has a half inch scar on his face, a tattoo of a Grim Reaper on his chest, and a burn mark on his arm.
"I'll be watching for the scar. It would obviously be the easiest one to point out," Jenkins Ahonen said.
Employees at the Cookie Tree make sure every customer sees the wanted flyer at the cash register.
They hope each person walks out of the shop with a clear memory of what to look out for, along with a batch of their delicious treats.
"I don't want a guy like that walking around here. I mean, it's just scary," Jenkins Ahonen said.
U.S. Marshals Service is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to Hawkins' arrest. If you have information, call Deputy Rob Tette at (916) 417-0257.