Text-to-911 feature alerts Sunnyvale police to burglary in progress; four suspects charged

Authorities in Sunnyvale say it was a discreet text to 911 that alerted them to a burglary in progress.
Thieves were ransacking a home on Mary Avenue, while the homeowner hid upstairs.

Captain Shawn Ahearn with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety says, "She was hiding underneath the covers of the bed and no one knew she was there except for us."

It was the first time since Sunnyvale introduced the Text to 911 function earlier this year, that it had been used in a real emergency.

Ahearn says, "And we were able to communicate with her, get information from her, let her know what we were doing, kind of find out what the suspects were doing, because she never saw them. She heard them."

The four suspects fled with the victim's valuables and her Tesla. But authorities quickly tracked them.
Alejandro Garcia, Marcos Rodriguez, Allison Martin, and Raeanna Sagote were taken into custody.

Ahearn says, "We later located that vehicle up in north San Jose. We surveilled the vehicle and were able to catch the suspects as they came back to the vehicle to take property out of it."

Sunnyvale credits technology with helping them make the arrests quickly. They say the ability to Text 911 both kept the victim safe, and gave police real time leads.

Other departments have been rolling out the function in recent months. Most of San Mateo County now has it. So does CHP's Golden Gate Division and the city of Santa Clara.

This month, Sunnyvale also introduced technology that allows them to better pinpoint the location of 911 calls. They say keeping up with these kinds of advancements can be invaluable.

Ahearn says, "From both sides it's great that this technology is available and that we're able to use it."

The suspects have been booked into the jail on burglary and auto theft charges. Detectives are looking for other potential victims. Anyone with information should call the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety at 408-730-7147.