Suspect poses as pizza delivery person in attempted home invasion

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KTVU) - An attempted home invasion robbery has shaken one neighborhood in Palo Alto, and police are asking for the public's help in locating the three men responsible.

Detectives released a composite sketch of one suspect and say the family was targeted.

Single family homes line quiet Suzanne Drive.

Many families and older folks live in the area. Their sense of security shattered Sunday night by an attempted home invasion robbery.

"I was scared. I didn't know what was going on so I was scared," said Betty Lum, a neighbor.

Police say the man posed as a pizza delivery person to get a 19-year-old woman to open the front door of the home around 9:45 p.m. Sunday.

She told him her family hadn't order pizza, and started to close the door.

"He pushed his way into the home. He was immediately followed by two suspects who were wearing masks. One of them was holding a semi-automatic handgun, the other of whom was holding a knife," said Lt. Zach Perron.

Police say the suspects didn't get past the entryway of the home because they were confronted by the 19-year-old's mother.

Shortly after her mother arrived, her father rushed over to help and the suspects ran out of the home and down an adjacent street.

"I heard them running. I heard them like panic breathing. I could hear them breathing, running down the street… jumped into a car and the car just took off," said a neighbor who asked KTVU not to identify her.

She tells KTVU it was too dark for her to see the make or model of the getaway vehicle.

Police say they're looking at surveillance video to see if they yield any clues.

Detectives say the family was targeted. They declined to say why, but do not think they know the suspects.

"They had just moved in in the last week. We're trying to see if that may have had any connection at all to the suspects targeting that house. At this point we don't know for sure yet," said Lt. Perron.

"Scared everybody. It's such a bad feeling. It's a terrible violation to do that to somebody,” said the neighbor.

The victims described the man who posed as a delivery person as a white man in his twenties, about 5’8” tall and weighing 170 pounds. He has blonde hair and brown eyes.

The two men who wore masks were about 6’2”, weigh about 220 pounds with muscular builds.

They were wearing all black clothing and black masks. Police say the victims couldn't tell what race they were.