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Three Minors Rounded Up, Accused of Carrying Loaded Gun, Breaking Into Palo Alto Home

Three juveniles from Menlo Park and East Palo Alto were tracked down and arrested this week for a Palo Alto home break-in and possession of a loaded gun, according to police.

The two-day effort that required bringing in police dogs and neighboring law enforcement agencies began when a resident on Stockton Place interrupted a break-in at her home Monday evening, police said.

The woman returned to her home along 3100 Stockton at 7:43 p.m. to find her front door open, lights on inside, and a screen over a front window removed from the frame, the Palo Alto Police Department said. Looking inside, she spied a stranger in her ransacked home and could hear him talking to someone, police said.

Adding to the criminal chaos, the woman also spotted a suspicious green Honda Civic parked nearby with a stranger behind the wheel. After jotting down the license plate number, she called 911, police said. 

Within minutes, at 7:50 a.m., a PA officer stopped a vehicle matching the description on the 3100 block of nearby Maddux Avenue. Arrested was the car's sole occupant, the driver, a 15-year-old male from East Palo Alto, for suspicion of felony residential burglary, police said.

Found in the car's trunk were a realistic-looking replica assault rifle, a ski mask and a knit cap, police added. 

An area search with PAPD's canine unit, plus assistance from the Los Altos Police Department's canine unit and a San Jose Police Department helicopter, failed to turn up the two outstanding suspects, police said. 

The two suspects were identified by detectives Tuesday, and at 2:45 p.m., Palo Alto detectives, with officers from the East Palo Alto and Menlo Park police
departments, went to a Menlo Park residence in the 1100 block of Carlton Avenue, police said. 

One suspect, a Menlo Park 16 year old, was detained without incident inside the home, according to law enforcement, but the other fled out the back, discarding a loaded handgun as he ran ... and ran ... directly to two detectives stationed behind the residence.

The "runner" -- an East Palo Alto male, 16 -- was arrested for suspicion of felony residential burglary, felon in possession of a firearm and resisting arrest. 

The suspect  inside the home was arrested for alleged felony residential burglary. The two are already on juvenile probation for burglary.
 
No one was injured in the ordeal, police noted.
 
Detectives now wonder if the replica weapon and disguises found in the first suspect's trunk were used in any surrounding jurisdictions' crimes. 

As for the Stockton Place burglary, police said no items were stolen. Cloth bags filled with the resident's miscellaneous belongings were left near the front door. Police suspect the intruders were frightened off when the woman returned home. 

Detectives are investigating to see if the suspects are connected to any other burglaries or crimes in Palo Alto or surrounding communities.

Anyone with information about this incident or these suspects is asked to call 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.

Anonymous tips can be e-mailed topaloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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