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Rohnert Park teen held at knifepoint in her home by suspected burglar

MARTIN ESPINOZA,

The 17-year-old Rohnert Park girl was home alone Wednesday about 7 p.m., locked in an upstairs bathroom because a male intruder was downstairs.

Afraid she’d be overheard speaking to an emergency dispatcher on her cellphone, she was told to answer questions by pushing certain buttons.

Police arrived about three minutes after her initial call, surrounding the house and making their way inside just as the intruder kicked down the door where the girl was hiding, took her phone and threatened her with a large hunting knife. She cried and screamed. The phone went dead.

But Rohnert Park police were right there.

They arrested the suspected teenage burglar, also 17 and from Rohnert Park.

The juvenile told police he thought the home was empty, did not know the victim and had no intention of harming her.

The incident began when Rohnert Park emergency dispatchers received a phone call from the girl, who said someone was trying to break into her home where she was alone. The teen said a male she didn’t know rang the doorbell but she didn’t answer.

The girl said she heard the suspect go around the house and attempt to get inside. She locked herself in the upstairs bathroom, staying on the phone the whole time with a dispatcher, afraid to speak for fear of being discovered.

Police arrived at the scene about three minutes after the initial phone call.

As they did, she pressed a button on the phone letting them know she heard the suspect upstairs. The girl stopped responding to questions. Moments later a dispatcher heard her cry and scream before the line was disconnected.

Police later learned the suspected intruder kicked the door down and drew a large hunting knife and asked the girl if she had been speaking to police. He took the phone and held the girl at knifepoint even as police surrounded the home and made their way in.

The youth told police he was taking property when he heard someone upstairs. He admitted pulling a knife on her and taking her phone, but told police he was not going to harm her.

After searching the youth’s backpack and home, additional items were found that police said may have been taken from two vehicles burglarized at Sonoma State University earlier Wednesday.

The youth was booked into Sonoma County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of home invasion, robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and possession of stolen property.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @renofish.