A suspected car thief breaks into a house to hide, police say. Then the home catches fire


A suspected car thief was seriously burned after a home he broke into to hide from police caught fire Monday night in San Jose, authorities said.

Officials with Santa Clara County’s auto theft task force tried to pull over Raul Anthony Rodriguez, 29, about 4 p.m. near Senter Road after discovering the car he was driving had been stolen. Rodriguez, who was also wanted on a felony burglary charge, got out of the car and ran about a mile from law enforcement before breaking into a home on Santee River Court, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

The homeowner escaped from the house unharmed, but Rodriguez refused to come out, sheriff’s officials said. Shortly before 6 p.m., the home caught fire with Rodriguez barricaded inside.


San Jose fire Capt. Brad Cloutier told the San Jose Mercury News that crews had to wait until the scene was secure to start fighting the blaze, which had grown significantly. Firefighters pulled Rodriguez from the home about 6:15 p.m. He was rushed to a hospital with significant burn injuries, Cloutier told the newspaper.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze.

After Rodriguez is released from the hospital, police say he will be booked on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer and residential burglary.