In an incident reminiscent of a dark tragedy in Lafayette city history, a suspected burglar arrived in the city via mass transit and allegedly walked Happy Valley Road looking for “something to steal” until he was confronted by a startled homeowner inside the residence.
The incident attracted the attention of neighbors in the 3900 block of Happy Valley Road around 9:44 a.m. Wednesday, several neighbors writing this site to report seeing a young man in a dark hoodie on foot in the area prior to the flurry of police activity and his ultimate arrest.
Officers were called to a home in the area after the resident returned to find the individual hiding behind the kitchen island, confronting him and demanding his turn his pockets out after the man stated he’d taken nothing.
The confrontation escalated until the suspected burglar, who police believe entered the home through an unlocked rear door, left at a trot towards the BART station.
A Lafayette motorcycle officer in the area noted the description and the subject, moving south of Happy Valley Elementary School, and detained the subject without incident.
LPD Investigators interviewed the suspect, who identified himself as a transient who had arrived in the community using BART and who was prowling local homes looking for something to steal. He was arrested for burglary and was booked at the County Jail in Martinez.
Investigators said Wednesday’s incident was disturbingly similar to a 1998 incident which ended with the murder of a 46-year-old Lafayette resident confronted in her home by three men who had arrived in the area on BART and who attacked and killed her after they found her painting a watercolor in her kitchen.
Maury O’Brien, Joseph Perez, and Lee Snyder were charged and convicted of murdering Janet Daher after they entered Daher’s home on Rose Lane through an open garage door. The men had come to Lafayette on a BART train from San Francisco in search of a crime of opportunity, police said.