Updated at 6:57 p.m.
By Martin Henderson
SWAT officers with the Orange County Sheriff's Department descended on a home in Robinson Ranch Thursday afternoon where it was suspected a burglar may have been holed up.
It turned out there was nothing inside.
No burglar, no sign of theft.
"It sounds like they broke a window in the back of the house and was scared away by an audible alarm," said Lt. Brian Schmutz, chief of police services in Rancho Santa Margarita. "We don't believe they made entry into the house, but we had people who were saying they definitely heard movement inside the house, and in that scenario, we have to be cautious about it. Also, there were firearms in the house."
SWAT officers arrived about two hours after an alarm went off in the residence at 12:04 p.m. Deputies who arrived first at the scene found the shattered glass of a patio door and established a perimeter around the house.
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About 4 1/2 hours after alarm, SWAT members entered the residence and cleared it room by room. The OCSD's K-9 unit also entered the home, and a sheriff helicopter observed overhead.
No one left the house after the perimeter was set up in the 32800 block of Brookseed Drive.
Schmutz said an AlertOC broadcast went out to residents on 2-3 streets in the neighborhood. According to Schmutz, they were told to remain in their homes though there was no threat to them.
When it was over, deputies did conduct searches of other homes in the area because residents were concerned for their safety. Schmutz held an impromptu meeting in the street for residents to explain what happened, gave them the number for the sheriff's department, and reminded them to call if there was any suspicious activity in the area.
Schmutz said there was suspicious activity in the area prior to the alarm, but didn't say what it was.
"We do monitor patterns of crime activity and haven't had an unusual pattern of burglaries or theft," Schmutz said.