OCEANSIDE, Calif. - A man suspected of stealing an SUV and breaking into an Oceanside home while a family was inside is in custody on Tuesday, thanks to help from a little dog.
According to authorities, the incident began as a car break-in on the 2300 block of El Camino Real in Carlsbad on Tuesday morning.
The Oceanside Police Department said it received a tip that the culprits were in a black SUV. Two patrol cars then spotted the vehicle heading south on El Camino Real. Officers said they ran the plates on the SUV and learned that the vehicle was reported stolen in Riverside County.
As police attempted to stop the SUV near Loretta and Kraft streets in Oceanside, officers said two men in the vehicle jumped out and fled the scene. A perimeter was set up in the area around state Route 76 and Canyon Drive as officers pursued the men.
One man forced his way into an occupied house on Walton Street.
A grandmother who lives inside the home told 10News, "I just stepped out into the front porch to see what was going on and then next thing you know, I saw the guy running so I grabbed my grandbabies and ran into the house."
In an exclusive interview with 10News, she described how the man kept trying to get into her house.
"As he slipped on my porch, I asked him, 'Please do not come in because I have grandbabies,'" said the grandmother, who did not want to be identified.
With her 8-year-old granddaughter and 1-year-old grandson inside, she decided to call police.
"The guy ran into my backyard and next thing I know, he was in my living room," she said. "He had busted through one of the back windows and then came into the room and then just told me to hush."
She said if it was not for 13-year-old Pebbles, the family dog, who knows what might have happened.
"And then my dog came in and was like, chasing him a little bit towards the bathroom," she said. "So after that, I just took my two grandbabies out and ran out of the house."
She added, "(Pebbles) played a major role. She's my little hero."
Pebbles cannot take all the credit. Police say the grandmother's cool kept the situation from turning into something much worse.
"This is a great day for us because she was able to get herself out of the house," said Oceanside police Sgt. Jeff Brandt. "Whenever we get somebody inside of the house, it becomes a hostage situation and those have got to be the most dangerous situations that we deal with."
Police took the man inside the home into custody. The other man ran in the opposite direction and was able to get away. He was later arrested Tuesday afternoon, police said.
No injuries were reported.