Burglary suspect found in Santa Rosa church

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Santa Rosa police early Tuesday arrested a man hiding inside a Catholic church sanctuary, suspecting he’d broken in during the night to burglarize the house of worship.

Officers went to the Resurrection Church on Stony Point Road about 3:10 a.m. when an alarm alerted them of a possible break in, Sgt. Ryan Hepp said.

They found a car parked on a sidewalk on church grounds and heard voices inside. Officers repeatedly yelled in that they were there and had a police dog and anyone inside needed to come out. No one responded and during a search they found one man hiding in the sanctuary, Hepp said.

The man wouldn’t comply with officers, and they sent Kolt, the dog, after him. The man fought the dog and still wouldn’t comply, Hepp said. The man also wasn’t subdued by an electric barb or baton and officers finally wrestled him to the ground to get him cuffed.

Items in the sanctuary appeared to be in disarray and officers suspected they’d interrupted a burglary, Hepp said. It wasn’t initially clear how the man had gotten inside.

David Pureco‑Ortega, 44, of Santa Rosa was given medical aid for minor injuries, including a dog bite, and he was booked into the Sonoma County Jail, suspected of burglary and obstructing an officer.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or

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