Officers, with guns drawn, closed two lanes of highway traffic Tuesday while they investigated a suspect's car along Interstate 8.
After several hours, officers realized the home invasion robbery suspect they thought was in the car was nowhere to be found. The car was empty.
Several patrol cars stopped alongside I-8 just west of El Cajon behind a dark colored Pontiac with heavily-tinted windows around 4 p.m.
The car belongs to a man who is connected to a home invasion robbery, police said.
Investigators said the suspect was supposed to meet with his parole agent but called and said his car had broken down.
For more than two hours, officers stood pointing guns at the car and trying different ways to check the car for any one inside. At one point, an officer threw a tree branch to break the back window.
Officers used the police helicopter above to try and see if there was anyone in the car.
As a result, commuters heading home from work in the eastbound lanes were subject to a delay that backed up traffic into the College Area.
Finally, hiding behind bullet-proof shields, an officer broke the driver's side window. A police K-9 confirmed no one was inside the car.
The only thing found inside was a dozen roses.
The freeway reopened at 7 p.m.
Police investigators had planned to arrest the car's owner during his scheduled parole meeting on home invasion robbery charges.
When asked if the suspect may have been tipped off and lied about car troubles to get away, Lt. David Rohowits said, "I guess that could have happened. Do we have information that it did happen? No."
Police are not releasing his name because they believe he will be caught soon.
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