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


Subject :

Intruder Arrested After Awakening Homeowner
Contact : Brian Philip, Detective Sergeant, Police    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- A woman entered an occupied residence Tuesday morning and attempted to take the resident's vehicle at knifepoint.  The victim was able to summon police and the suspect was arrested as she attempted to flee.

On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at about 7:50 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a resident of the 900 block of Hamilton Avenue reporting that a knife-wielding intruder was attempting to gain access to her home.  Officers immediately responded to the area. Upon arrival, officers learned that the intruder was now inside but that the resident had been able to escape.  A few minutes later, the suspect attempted to flee the residence and police arrested her without incident. 

The investigation revealed that the victim, a woman in her eighties, had awakened to find an unfamiliar woman in her bedroom.  The suspect, who was wearing a wig, demanded the keys to the victim's vehicle.  The victim ran downstairs and hid.  When the victim heard the intruder exit the home’s back door, the victim shut the door and locked the suspect outside.  Through the inset window of the back door, though, the suspect then displayed a key to the residence, brandished a large knife, and threatened to harm the victim if she did not give the suspect her car keys.  While calling 9-1-1, the victim moved to another portion of the home.  When she heard the suspect open the back door and re-enter, the victim ran outside and met responding officers. 

Officers surrounded the home and, minutes later, the suspect emerged from a side gate and was taken into custody without incident.  At the time of her arrest, the victim was carrying numerous miscellaneous items of the victim’s personal property.  Located nearby was a 14-inch, ceremonial dagger, also later determined to have come from the victim’s home. 

Follow-up investigation revealed that the suspect had once shared a mutual acquaintance with the victim.  Investigators believe that this is how the suspect knew the location of a hide-a-key, which she used to enter the home. 

The victim was not injured during the incident.

Police booked 55-year-old Jennifer Louise Gause of East Palo Alto into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for one felony count of burglary, one felony count of robbery, and one misdemeanor count of brandishing a weapon.  A booking photograph of the suspect is attached to this release.

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.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or