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Updated: SWAT Action Ends in Robinson Ranch; Nothing Found

Big guns are called to the scene when a suspected burglar is holed up inside a house containing firearms. Ends after nearly six hours.

SWAT unit team members return from a house on Brookseed Drive. Photo/Patch
SWAT unit team members return from a house on Brookseed Drive. Photo/Patch

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. 

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.

Shirley Dicktor October 03, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Thanks for the update Martin, very efficent compared to some of the others (editors) for Patch.
Vahan Elmayan October 03, 2013 at 08:44 PM
No more choppers so what was the outcome?
Shana Marie October 03, 2013 at 08:58 PM
What is an AlertOC? I live in the neighborhood and didn't hear any alert!
Brad McGirr October 03, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Hi Shana...AlertOC is an emergency alert system. You can sign up and list your phone number on the website, AlertOC.com. Just go to the website, hover your cursor over Rancho Santa Margarita, and you can sign up from there. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at BMcGirr@cityofrsm.org.
Laurmelashouse October 03, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Thanks for the info Brad!
Shirley Dicktor October 04, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Thanks Martin for the conclusion to the story.
Deanna October 04, 2013 at 12:56 AM
All day of helicopters and sirens - to read nobody was there. Aggravating
Chris McLaughlin October 04, 2013 at 01:04 AM
How did they know there were firearms in the house?? (I thought firearm owners were scared witless of The Man knowing they have guns, and what gun owners leave their guns unsecured/not locked up when they're not at home??) If the Police were so confident there were guns in the house, how come they couldn't figure out whether there were any PEOPLE in the house? BTW, were all the known/disclosed firearms accounted for???
Martin Henderson (Editor) October 04, 2013 at 07:47 AM
My understanding is this: OCSD contacted the owners of the residence and learned about the firearms, and when that was put into play, it changed the complexion of the incident and SWAT was brought in. The owners went into the home after it was cleared and didn't find anything missing. I'm sure deputies made sure they accounted for their firearms. As Lt. Schmutz said, they don't believe anyone ever entered the home. Good to see you back, Chris.
Jim S October 04, 2013 at 10:18 AM
We spent a heck of a lot of money on the incident, fire, paramedics, SWAT, what looked like an armoured police van. Probably the teenager nearby who ran home. :)
Mike Proctor October 08, 2013 at 12:34 PM
What an over reaction.

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