News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Interrupted Burglary Leads to Hours-Long Containment, But No Arrests
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- A resident returning home from running errands interrupted a residential burglary at her house, leading police to surround her home for five hours before SWAT officers entered and determined the suspects had escaped.

On Monday, March 24, 2014, at about 6:26 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a 9-1-1 call from a resident in the 800 block of Ames Avenue reporting a residential burglary.  The victim, a woman in her thirties, had returned home with her baby and another adult relative when she noticed that the rear door to her house had been forced open.  She immediately had the three of them exit the home, and she then called 9-1-1.  While she was outside on the phone with the public safety dispatcher, she heard the sound of a door slamming inside her home.  Once officers arrived on scene a short time later, the victim used her smart phone to access what she believed to be live video surveillance footage inside the home.  Together, she and the officers observed two unknown suspects in a bedroom.  As they watched, the video cut off, apparently as a result of one of the suspects disconnecting the power supply to the surveillance system.

Other officers responded to the scene and helped to surround the home.  Patrol officers made repeated calls inside the residence using a public address system in an effort to have any suspects inside exit on their own accord.  Officers used police canines to do a limited search of the lower level of the home where it was safe for the dogs to deploy.  Eventually, after receiving no response from inside, at about 9:30 p.m. we summoned our Crisis Negotiation Team and our Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) Team to the scene.  These teams are specially trained to enter areas where suspects may be barricaded to order to safely resolve the situation.

At about 11:28 p.m., after entering the home and searching it thoroughly, SWAT officers and canine units determined that the suspects were no longer inside.  SWAT officers continued to search nearby yards and hiding places, and eventually declared the entire scene clear at about 11:45 p.m.  Police later determined that the video they had viewed had actually not been live as originally thought, such that there was a small window of time prior to police arrival during which the suspects escaped.

The ensuing investigation revealed that the suspects had broken into the home at some point between 5:45 p.m. and 6:25 p.m. by forcing open a rear door, after accessing the backyard from an unlocked side yard gate.  The suspects ransacked portions of the home, and stacked several valuable items near an exit door.  At this time, the property actually stolen remains unknown.  Typically, residential burglars steal jewelry, cash, and small personal electronic devices like laptops, tablet computers, and digital cameras.

As captured on the video surveillance footage, the two known suspects are black males who appear to be in their mid-twenties.  They were wearing all black clothing.  No additional description is available.  We cannot rule out the possibility that additional suspects were involved.  If the video itself or still images are of sufficient quality to possibly identify the suspects, we will release them separately in the near future.  Detectives are actively investigating this incident.

In addition to a police canine team from our Department, we also used one canine team from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.  Two deputies from the Stanford Department of Public Safety helped us with the perimeter containment as well.

The Palo Alto Police Department used the AlertSCC telephone notification system to notify residents in an approximate one-block radius surrounding the house, asking them to remain inside with their doors locked out of an abundance of caution.  In total, 93 homes received this notification, as well as a follow-up call once the situation was safely resolved.  Additionally, we utilized our Twitter account (, @PaloAltoPolice) to provide real-time updates to the incident, and also posted notifications on Facebook (, Nextdoor (, and Nixle (  Links to all of our social media sites can be found at

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.