SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Police on Sunday said they have some "very good leads" in connection with an interrupted burglary that occurred Friday on the upper Westside.
About 11 p.m. Friday, a couple returned to their home in the 200 block of Majors Street and caught a man and woman in the act of burglarizing their home, Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.
The male homeowner chased the couple into nearby Westlake Park, tackling the female suspect, Clark said.
Her male partner then knocked the homeowner off his cohort and the two men fought briefly, Clark said.
The suspects then fled through the neighborhood, hopping fences and skirting detection, he said.
"They escaped capture that night, but we have some good evidence and leads and are optimistic about identifying them," he said in an email message Sunday afternoon.
The duo had stacked property up outside the home as if preparing to take it, and much of the property was recovered, Clark said. He said he did not have details on hand Sunday evening specifying how the couple got into the home.
In terms of chasing down the suspect, Clark said he had no doubt he would react similarly.
"While I think it is great, it is also a risky proposition," he said. "In that situation, you don't know if the suspect is armed, their level of desperation or what they are capable of."
Santa Cruz police addressed the issue in a blog post recently. They said the decision to fight back is a
deeply personal one, and they asked people to be good observers and witnesses and consider the risk of fighting versus the risk of cooperating, as well as one's own capabilities and comfort with fighting compared with the suspects' capabilities and weaponry (see santacruzpolice.blogspot.com).
"We encourage you to think about these points and consider what you would do if you found yourself in this situation," the post stated.
Deborah Elston, founder of the crime prevention group Santa Cruz Neighbors, said the burglary was in her neighborhood. She said there were also two recent incidents of intruders found in backyards of homes on nearby Moore Street, as well as troubling recent crimes throughout the city.
"We're on alert here, it's scary," she said. "The important thing is people really have to call in suspicious activity. The moment they make that call, they are sending someone. Stay safe and call and stay connected to your neighbors. Get on an email list and look out for one another."
Elston said she has faith in the police and that officers were there very quickly Friday night.
Several high-profile, violent crimes have occurred in the city since the Feb. 9 homicide of Pauly Silva in downtown Santa Cruz. Those include the robbery and shooting of a UC Santa Cruz student on Natural Bridges Drive, a rape on the UC Santa Cruz campus, an armed robbery of the Food Bin on Mission Street and a home invasion robbery on Poplar Avenue on the Eastside.
In the home invasion, a resident apprehended one suspect. The second, 22-year-old Esteban Lopez who lives near Poplar Avenue on Fairmount Avenue, is being sought by police.
Santa Cruz Police ask anyone with information on the crime to call the anonymous tip line at 831-420-5995 or leave a tip at www.santacruzpolice.com or on its cellphone application at http://m.santacruzpolice.com.
Copyright 2013 - Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service