Police probe burglary link to home invasion

Police arrest burglary suspect after manhunt -- second possible suspect being sought

Palo Alto police are investigating a possible link between the Thursday-morning (Sept. 2) burglary-and-manhunt and an Aug. 27 home-invasion armed robbery and a July 3 night-time burglary.

The Thursday-morning burglary resulted in the arrest of one suspect and a continuing search for one or more other possibly involved. according to Palo Alto police. (View the press release.)

The second suspect was described by witnesses as a 5-foot-4-inch Hispanic male between 15 and 25 with a thin build and black, shoulder-length hair.

The Thursday manhunt involved three police agencies, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Stanford, according to Palo Alto police spokesman Max Nielepko.

Police are looking into a possible connection between the burglars and a home-invasion robbery of a 78-year-old man on Morris Drive on Aug. 27 and a July 3 burglary on the 1500 block of Hamilton Avenue, he said.

In the Hamilton Avenue case, burglars entered the home while a family of four slept and stole a 50-inch television, a camera, watch, cell phone and laptop computer, which they loaded into the family's Toyota Sienna mini-van and drove away.

On Thursday (Sept. 2) a man sleeping in his second-story bedroom on the 100 block of Waverley Street was awakened by noises downstairs at about 1:33 a.m. Thursday. The man's wife and children were also asleep in the home, Nielepko said.

The man called 911 and as police arrived he still heard noises downstairs. A suspect ran from the residence and began jumping fences through neighboring yards, he said, Police set up a perimeter and searched for the suspect, who re-emerged a short time later and tried to walk out of the perimeter.

Police arrested Sergio Fuentas, 22, of East Palo Alto. He was booked into Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose on one count of burglary, one count of vehicle theft, one count of possession of stolen property -- all felonies -- and one count of probation violation for a prior burglary conviction in San Mateo County, Nielepko said.

Police told all occupants of the house stay in a room as they requested backup units from Menlo Park. Nielepko would not say what was taken from the home.

A nearby neighbor in the 100 block of Bryant Street also reported noises in their house. Police adjusted the perimeters after hearing movement in the yard and noises on a roof. Stanford police then also responded.

Palo Alto officers spotted and chased a suspect and lit up the area with spotlights. Police dispatch contacted surrounding homeowners by phone and advised them to stay inside.

Palo Alto police then detained Fuentas at Bryant and Hawthorne Avenue.

Nielepko said he could not confirm or deny Tweet reports that Menlo Park police located one suspect a quarter mile north on Sand Hill Road. A Hispanic male with a red shirt, black pants and spiked hair was trying to flag down a ride.

Palo Alto police notified Stanford Mall security and Menlo Park police spotted a Hispanic male running from the San Francisquito Creek, trying to ditch a red shirt, according to reports.

"Certainly we're looking into the possibility that there may have been one or more persons involved," he said.

If Fuentas is connected to the Hamilton Avenue and Morris Drive crimes, his arrest could be a breakthrough in a string of crimes that appear to be increasingly brazen and dangerous.

The Aug. 27 robbery involved three Hispanic men who broke into the home of the 78-year-old man when he responded to a knock at the door at about 3:30 p.m., according to police Lt. Sandra Brown.

The men -- one armed with an automatic weapon -- rushed the resident, punched him in the face and bound him as they ransacked his house, she said after the incident. The man's wife arrived home around 5 p.m. and immediately called police, though the suspects had fled. The man was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Police Department at (650) 329-2413, or to call the department's anonymous tip line at (650) 329-2190. Anonymous tips can also be sent by text message at (650) 383-8984 or by email at

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Like this comment
Posted by A-Tweet-In-Time
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

Google has recently announced a "real time" service:

Here is one "tweet" from someone how lives nearby:

Web Link

Whoa, someone just broke into my neighbor's house. Cops have the block roped off. K9 & everything. This s--t is intense for Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:41 am

Thank you Palo Alto, Stanford and Menlo Park police for keeping us save :) We really appreciate your hard work!

Like this comment
Posted by homegirl
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm

yeah, we all 'know' who qq is...some wannabe who keeps both ears glued to Police Scanners and lives vicariously through others who provide the constant 'entertainment' for this person.
they often post semi-confidential information gleaned from a series of 911 transmissions.
Good thing PA's finest use their MDT's more and more to prevent information hijackers.

Like this comment
Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

It was actually a quarter mile north of Sand Hill on ECR where a witness spotted the suspect. There was a lot of confusion on the channel with both Menlo and Palo Alto/Stanford units using the same frequency. All in all, they did a great job of flushing them out.

Especially L10 with his dog, give those two a medal! He was flushing, running around, reporting a screeching getaway car, and calling the unit placements.

The poor RP in the 100 block of Waverley just "thought" he might have heard something, but wasn't sure and called it in. If you think you hear something call in. You never know who is inside your base, stealing your flag. ;-)


Like this comment
Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

To echo Robert: Yes, many thanks to the three police forces involved!

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm

PAPD seems to have fewer K9's available recently. On the Georgia incident a few weeks ago, they needed to call in a unit from Sunnyvale. On Friday's home invasion, they need to bring in a unit earlier than their scheduled shift. Did PAPD lose a unit in the past few months? PAPD's K9's are always helpful and frequently requested by outside agencies.

Thanks again to the PAPD for their hard work.

Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm

It would be great if this arrest(s) captured the miserable excuse for human beings who assaulted and tied up the older man.

In any case, whoever the bad guys are, there are fewer of them on the street now.

Like this comment
Posted by K9s
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I think PAPD did cut some K9 units. I for one vote we have get a few more. If they have to call them in from other cities or off duty that telss me they need more dogs!

Like this comment
Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

If it were not for qq, this site would be in pretty sad shape. The only time the police let out most information is if they need the public's is our right to know what is going on and qq seems to pass on information that has been pretty reliable.

Like this comment
Posted by poor dogs
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm

calling them k9, like they dont have their own identity. creulty to animals.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 3, 2010 at 2:22 pm

It's k9 when they are on the job. And it's an honorable profession, right up there with service dogs for the blind. Everyone appreciates being able to earn their keep. Are unemployed dogs really happier?

Like this comment
Posted by KathleenK
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by watsey
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

police are used to harass ''undesirables''. very soon many earth people will be ''undesirable''. so watch out who you profile. you could be profiled by the creation, god, whatever.

Like this comment
Posted by Police
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2010 at 2:01 am

The police need to come to my side of palo alto, and i'm going to have my friends shoot them with paintball guns... Better watch out, my dad had a very high treehouse built for me to play in, and my friends are going to use it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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