A man was taken into custody after refusing to exit a Paramount home under fumigation during a more than seven-hour standoff with authorities.
SWAT deputies used police dogs as they searched the home and eventually found the man hiding in a crawlspace, authorities said. SWAT deployed tear gas to force him out.
Deputies first responded to an alarm that went off about 5 a.m. at the home in the 15700 block of Verdura Avenue and saw what looked like a flashlight beam, said Sgt. James Peterson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
They called for backup because they didn't have the proper gear to enter a home being fumigated, he said.
The SWAT team, equipped to handle hazardous-material incidents, responded and surrounded the home.
Lt. Tim Milliman said the SWAT deputies did not wear masks when they entered the home. They tested the poison level to make sure it was safe to enter.
The fumigation crew arrived shortly after the SWAT team surrounded the home, hoping to remove the tent. It was apparently the last day of fumigation. Milliman said thieves usually count the number of days a home is being fumigated, so they can determine how much time they have left to burglarize a home.
“This is the first time it has lasted this long,” he said. “They normally do come out.”
Similar break-ins have occurred in the past but are rare, Peterson said.
Still, he said sheriff's stations advise residents to notify them when they plan to fumigate their home, so they can conduct additional patrols.
Several affluent neighborhoods in Orange County saw a rash of similar burglaries over the summer.
Newport Beach police warned residents in August of thieves who burglarized tented homes.
They urged residents to remove any valuables from the home before fumigation.