When a SWAT team entered Gladys Leu's Palo Alto home on March 23, they were looking for a burglar. They got their man, but they also apparently damaged Leu's home while trying to apprehend the suspect, Julian Baldes Alvarado.
Now the City of Palo Alto has settled a claim with Leu, 92, for $2,316.13, according to City Attorney Molly Stump.
Palo Alto police received a call on March 23 reporting a suspicious person in the rear yard of a home on the 900 block of Oregon Avenue. When officers arrived to the scene, the man, later identified as 26-year-old Alvarado of San Jose, allegedly began jumping over fences to escape while police set up a perimeter in the area.
Alvarado entered Leu's home on the 900 block of Elsinore Drive where he encountered a woman in her 40s, who was working at the residence as a caretaker for Leu, who was asleep in a bedroom.
The caretaker was able to escape and met with officers who had surrounded the house. Officers yelled into the house in an effort to get Alvarado to surrender, police said. The commotion caused Leu to wake up and she was able to get out of the house, according to police.
After a standoff that lasted hours, the Palo Alto Police Department's SWAT team and a police K-9 entered the home. The dog found Alvarado hiding on top of a water heater inside a closet in the garage, police said. When Alvarado refused commands by officers to come down, the police K-9 bit him on the leg and helped officers arrest him.
Leu, through her daughter, Deborah Anderson, filed a claim against the city on April 25 for damages to the home. The repairs included replacing the screens of a bathroom window, sliding-glass door and a broken lock on the door, repairing the jamb on the side door to the garage, replacing PVC door trim on the side door to the garage and replacing the garage side door, painting the door and jamb, replacing the water heater and hauling away the debris. The water heater was the most expensive item at $750, according to a repair bill submitted with the claim.
Janet Billups, city claims investigator, sent Anderson a settlement letter dated June 10 for the total sum, which was to be paid within 10 days after Leu filled out some documents and a release form.
Stump said that whenever it is necessary for officers to damage property during a police action, the city pays the bill. But the city plans to recoup the payment from Alvarado during the criminal court case against him.
Alvarado was found in possession of a bicycle and a backpack containing miscellaneous personal property that had been stolen on March 23 from outside an apartment complex on the 400 block of West Charleston Road, police said.
Police also recovered stolen property from homes on the 900 block of Oregon Avenue. Alvarado was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for one count of misdemeanor aggravated trespassing, one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest, one count of misdemeanor prowling, and one count of misdemeanor possession of stolen property and petty theft, according to police.