TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- A home invasion burglary turned into a soft lockdown at an elementary school and things escalated into a vehicle theft that led to a brief police chase.
The victims, a Taylorsville father and his 2-year-old daughter, were inside their house Wednesday at 11:24 a.m. when they heard pounding on their front door.
The father told Fox 13 News off camera he did not dare answer it, but then he said they quickly realized they were in trouble when he saw two men wearing blue gloves looking through his front windows before they started kicking in his wooden front door.
The father said he picked up his daughter and ran to his backyard to jump over his back fence, simultaneously calling 911. Unified Police officers arrived within seconds.
“The homeowner did the right thing,” said Tracy Wyant, Chief of the Unified Police Department's Taylorsville Precinct. “He exited the home, contacted the authorities and provided great information.”
Police said Vista Elementary School was located directly behind the victim’s home, and since the suspects ran toward the school, police put Vista under a “shelter in place” order.
Mother Kimberly Rivera has three children who attend Vista. Their family just moved to Utah from Colorado six months ago. She said she did not know about the soft lockdown until her children told her after school.
“I’m just thankful my kids are safe,” Rivera said.
“They put us on lockdown while we were learning during math, and they said on the intercom there was going to be a lockdown and they will notify us while when the lockdown is done,” said Rivera’s 10-year-old daughter, Sarai Garcia.
Police quickly caught up with the 16-year-old suspect and arrested him. They said his brother was the other suspect, 19-year-old Isaiah Ortega.
They said Ortega found an unoccupied vehicle unlocked and “warming up”, then stole it and took off. Police say he left the car about a mile away and ran off. Police tracked him down and arrested him.
Both brothers will be charged with burglary. Unified police also said they had pulled up to the victim’s house with a black Subaru filled with other stolen possessions. They said it looked like they had been stealing items from people’s cars and collecting them.
Police also are also warning people to stop warming up their vehicles and leaving them outside before they are ready to sit down and drive them.
“You’re basically inviting someone to steal it,” Chief Wyant said.
Both West Jordan police and Provo police tweeted messages this week alerting people to the same problem.