At least two unknown suspects attempted to break in to the Marin County Juvenile Hall early Friday morning using bolt cutters and a sledge hammer but fled before officials could identify them, according to Marin County Sheriff's officials.
The break-in was likely an attempt to free , a San Rafael resident who stands accused of in April as well as from a San Francisco dealership last year, Sheriff's Lt. Barry Heying said.
Heying said investigators believe the break-in attempt was an effort to release Wade, who he called the facility's "most high-profile prisoner." Wade was housed on the other side of the wall that the suspects allegedly tried to break down with a sledge hammer, Heying said.
Today is Wade's 18th birthday and he was scheduled to be moved later this morning to county jail, but instead was moved there immediately after the attempted break-in, Heying said.
At approximately 4:35 a.m., the sheriff’s office received reports that a break-in was in progress at the Juvenile Hall facility. An unknown number of suspects were outside the south wall of the housing facility using a sledge hammer to force entry by slamming a 10-foot high window. The window belonged to Wade's cell, Heying said.
After hearing the first few thumps at the window, a group counselor realized what was going on and removed Wade from his cell. The minors housed in the facility near Wade's cell were also evacuated and staff began an emergency plan to secure the facility. The population of Juvenile Hall, located on Jeannette Prandi Way, was less than 20 children at the time of the attempted break-in.
"Most of the kids slept through the event," Chief Probation Officer Michael Daly said after the press conference. "All of the personnel on staff at Juvenile Hall are unarmed and we do not know if the suspects had weapons."
The thumps at the window continued for about a minute after Wade was removed from the cell. Then the suspects fled, Heying said.
Deputies and officers from several Marin law enforcement agencies arrived on scene and began a search of the facility and the surrounding neighborhood.
They found a backpack containing clothes in the middle of Huckleberry Road, but they did not know if it was connected to the incident, Heying said. The search was called off at 7:15 a.m. with no suspects located.
Whoever did the break-in did not breach the facility, but the window was damaged. Bolt cutters were used to cut through two different fences to access to the security perimeter and left behind, according to the release.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance camera footage and conducting interviews in an attempt to identify those responsible.
Wade plead not guilty to the charges in June. That same day, , featuring lyrics like, "Free Max Wade, he's my f***ing brother."
At this point, there has been no evidence that Wade is involved with a gang, Heying said.
Due to his high profile, Wade has been separated from the other inmates at Juvenile Hall since his stay, which began in April. Detectives are following up on any phone calls, visits and mail that he received during that time.
Wade was scheduled to be transferred to the county jail on Friday. He arrived at the facility at 6:30 a.m. after the break-in attempt.
"It's no secret that when you turn 18, you can no longer stay in Juvenile Hall," Heying said. "Anyone who knew his birthday could know that."
Anyone with information concerning this matter is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 415-499-7233. To remain anonymous and possibly become eligible for a cash reward call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.