Silent alarm enables Modesto police to catch burglar

A silent alarm equipped with an audio monitoring system helped police catch a burglar Wednesday night, police said. Officers arrested Albert Lee Swafford, 43, on suspicion of commercial burglary and violation of parole, said police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen.

When the suspected burglar triggered the silent alarm at a downtown business, an audio system linked to the alarm was activated. Employees at the alarm company heard movement inside the business and alerted police at 11:22 p.m., said Findlen.

Officers responded to the 1000 block of 12th Street. When they arrived, they saw someone close the building’s back door from inside the business.

Officers surrounded the building. Swafford walked out of the building’s back door carrying stolen property, said Findlen. Swafford was arrested and booked at Stanislaus County Jail.

Findlen said alarms equipped with listening devices are increasingly common. Authorities can sometimes hear suspects talking while they commit a crime, said Findlen.

"That gives us an idea of how long we have to get to there and how we need to respond tactically," Findlen said. "The technology is out there to catch these people in the act. I think people should think twice before they commit a burglary, because there’s a significant chance they’ll be caught."