FREMONT -- Tanya shivered in fear in her bedroom closet where she had hid after hearing burglars enter her Northgate neighborhood house Monday afternoon.
The 12-year-old girl, who had been left alone briefly at home, clutched a phone in her small shaking hand and dialed 911, whispering as she reported the burglary. Then a male burglar suddenly walked into her bedroom and, as a 911 operator told the girl to remain calm, Tanya peered through the closet door, seeing only the burglar's legs.
She watched the burglar open one of her dresser drawers and then shut it before abruptly leaving the ransacked house with his female associate.
"I think he thought there was nothing there for him to steal," said Tanya, an eighth-grade student whose family did not want her last name used because of fears for her safety.
A day later, investigators are looking for four burglars who fled the quiet residential neighborhood moments before officers responded to Tanya's call, Fremont police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said.
No injuries were reported, but items worth about $20,000 were stolen from the home in the 33800 block of Abercrombie Place near Beard Road, Bosques said.
The girl's family members said their neighborhood, which includes a cul-de-sac where children play together and neighbors watch out for each other, is a safe area. Still, the brazen burglary in broad daylight has been a traumatic experience, said Tanya's father, Piyush, who
The random burglary began around 3 p.m. when a parent left Tanya alone for a few minutes in the house where the family of four lives. Someone pounded on the door and rang the doorbell, but the girl stayed in her bedroom because she did not recognize the woman standing outside or the group of men parked in a white, four-door sedan.
Minutes later, Tanya heard strangers whispering inside the home, and she hid in the bedroom closet. She called her mother, who immediately told her to dial 911. Police said the burglars gained entry through an unlocked window.
Officers arrived minutes after the call, but the burglars -- three men and one woman -- had driven away with a laptop computer, jewelry, small electronic devices and other stolen items.
Neighbors told officers that they saw the white vehicle casing the neighborhood around 2 p.m., repeatedly driving along Beard Road, Bosques said. A young man riding a skateboard -- believed to be an associate of the burglars -- was looking into cars and taking photos near the home, police said.
Police described one burglar as a black man, age 20 to 25, between 5-feet, 10 inches and 6 feet tall, medium build and wearing a white T-shirt and dark blue baggy jeans. A second suspect was described as a black woman, age 18 to 20, between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-6, medium build and shoulder-length gold-colored hair with black streaks. No arrests have been made.
The burglary was one of eight that occurred Monday in the Tri-City area, including five burglaries in Fremont and three in Newark, police said.
Staff writer Daniel M. Jimenez contributed to this report.