VIDEO: Suspect approaches Brentwood home with machete, not jailed over COVID-19 concerns

A stranger was caught on surveillance video running up to a Brentwood home on two separate occasions. And the second time he was armed with a machete. 

Voltaire Apse said he was in bed at his home on Baird Circle, as was his wife and daughter when their alarm system went off. 

"I made a phone call to the police, immediately," Apse said. "It was a good 15 minutes, I guess, that he was outside."

By the time the officer arrived, the suspect was gone. Apse realized that the man had stolen a surveillance camera outside the home and slashed a tire on his car. 

He and his family couldn't sleep after the incident. 

Then at 4 a.m., the same man returned to the home, but this time carrying a machete. However, Apse didn't know that at the time.

"That time I was really in panic mode. I was so scared," he said.

The man stayed out front for a while. He was seen on video stealing a second surveillance camera from outside the home.

Apse again called Brentwood police.

"The police came really quick, you know, within five minutes. And they got him," he said.

The officers detained the man, but let him go with a citation for petty theft and vandalism.

Brentwood police confirmed to KTVU that the suspect, Adam Scott Ortega, wasn't booked into jail, in part because of coronavirus concerns.

"The police officer explained that if not for the COVID-19 situation, he would have been arrested," Apse said. "The police officer said their hands are tied up. They can't really do anything, because they don't want to spread the virus to the inmates."

Brentwood police said they didn't find a machete on the suspect who's on probation. If they had, he could have potentially been booked. But his alleged crimes were misdemeanors. The Contra Costa County district attorney's office now has a year to decide whether to file formal charges.

Apse said he's frustrated and scared that the man may return.

"It's mind-boggling," he said. "What, they have to wait for that guy to, you know, break the door and then, who knows what he would do with that machete?"