Researcher victim of home invasion

February 27, 2008 6:57:29 AM PST
A U.C. Santa Cruz cancer researcher was the target of a home invasion. Santa Cruz police say at least 6 men tried to force their way into the professor's home but were fought off by her husband.

This is the latest in a string of incidents involving U.C. Santa Cruz researchers Santa Cruz Police and the FBI are now trying to find the suspects.

Santa Cruz Police investigator Lieutenant ruddy Escalante says it was a terrorizing experience for the researcher and her family.

"Six people with bandanas around their face were trying to break down the front door to get into the residence," said Lt. Rudy Escalante from the Santa Cruz Police Department.

The professor's husband managed to fight off the attackers. The woman whose name is being withheld by police and U.C. works as a breast cancer researcher at the U.C. Santa Cruz Biomedical School. Mice are used in her work.

Through witnesses the police traced a car to this Santa Cruz home.

On Sunday night, Santa Cruz police raided a home here on Riverside Avenue. While they did not make any arrests they did confiscate a lot of electronics.

"From indices to photographs to cell phones laptop computers. So we're in the middle of processing that evidence," said Lt. Escalante.

Lieutenant Escalante says the FBI is helping in examining that evidence. So far, police do not have anyone claiming responsibility for the attack nor have they tied any animal rights groups to the incident.

U.C. officials and police have now taken precautions to protect researchers involved in several fields.

"Breast cancer, neurological disease, brain injuries the effect of lead on humans and the environment," said Barry Shiller from U.C. Santa Cruz.

Barry Shiller says those research individuals are now under tight security.

"We have taken some additional security precautions I can't go into them for obvious reasons we are providing that level of support to families who feel they need it," said Shiller.

Barry Shiller says what these vandals have done does not advance any cause.

"These attacks are not free speech, they are not reasonable protests they are an attempt to chill and intimidate academic freedom," said Shiller.