A burglary suspect who was attending Palo Alto High School's graduation was at the wrong place at the wrong time Wednesday evening, with police officers recognizing him at the ceremony, chasing him through the neighborhood and eventually arresting him.
The man, identified as Andre John McBride, was arrested after a foot chase in which he hopped fences, ran across the train tracks and entered residential yards on Alma Street and Embarcadero Road, police said Thursday. He was wanted on three warrants relating to burglary and grand theft. These include an April 25 shoplifting episode in Nordstrom at the Stanford Shopping Center, an April 24 theft of two laptops and a wallet from a residence in the 1400 block of Tasso Street and an auto burglary that occurred in September 2013 on Princeton Street, in which cash was taken from an unoccupied car.
Police began following McBride, 20, at around 6:35 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after Palo Alto High School's school resource officer spotted the East Palo Alto resident at Paly's graduation ceremony and recognized him as a suspect in the three thefts. Just after the ceremony was over, McBride allegedly saw officers approach him and fled on foot. Three officers, including the school resource officer, gave chase.
Police said McBride hopped fences, crossed the bike path just east of Palo Alto High School and ran across the Caltrain tracks, making his way to Alma Street. He then allegedly hopped the yard of a home on the 1100 block of Alma before climbing over an adjoining fence in the yard of another home on the 100 block of Embarcadero. As he emerged from that yard, he tripped as he stepped off a high curb on Embarcadero, injuring himself in the process, police said.
Officers arrested McBride near the high school, by the Embarcadero Road underpass, around 7 p.m. Caltrain trains -- which travel over the underpass -- were slowed down "for the safety of all," said Lt. Zach Perron, Palo Alto police spokesman.
Police said McBride complained of pain to one of his knees as a result of stepping of the curb. Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department drove him to a local hospital for medical treatment. After he received treatment, McBride was booked at the Santa Clara County Main Jail for the three outstanding warrants as well as resisting arrest and a probation violation. McBride is also on probation in Santa Clara County for narcotics possession, police said.
"We've been looking for him for awhile," Perron told the Weekly. "It just so happened that we were both at the same place at the same time."
The three Palo Alto officers also suffered minor injuries during the foot pursuit, though none of them required medical treatment, police said. One officer had abrasions on his hands while another had knee and back pains as a result of chasing the suspect over fences. A third twisted his ankle.
This was not McBride's first experience running from Palo Alto officers. At the Nordstrom burglary last month, the store's loss-prevention officers tried to arrest him under a private-person's arrest, but he fought them off and escaped into the eucalyptus groves surrounding the shopping center. An officer spotted him at the grove and ordered him to stop, but McBride ran away and escaped.
All three warrants for McBride relating to thefts in Palo Alto were issued on May 1 and detectives have been actively searching for McBride since then, police said.
Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner contributed to this report.