Palo Alto man reports suspicious repairmen

Unknown men fixed his plumbing, and then left

Palo Alto police are accustomed to calls about thefts and fights, even bizarre deaths, but dispatchers are rarely called with news about recently completed home repairs.

Yet that's exactly what happened Tuesday evening, when a Community Center family made an emergency call. On the police blotter, the report is cryptic: "Unknown suspects entered home and fixed plumbing," it says, classified as a "Suspicious Circumstance."

Suspecting a typo, the Weekly called Acting Lt. Sandra Brown, who attributed the incident to miscommunication between the property owners and tenants, who reported the illicit repair job.

The man who made the call believed the three Hispanic workers had been checking out his house for a future burglary.

"He said they only repaired the plumbing, showed him the damaged parts and left. They did not act suspicious or walk anywhere else in the apartment," Brown wrote in an e-mail.

"I find it hard to believe that crooks are getting that desperate that they complete plumbing repairs in an attempt to case houses," she said.

A call to the residence in the 800 block of Channing Avenue wasn't immediately returned.


Like this comment
Posted by Nicholas Sousa
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Would he have called the police if the repairmen had been light-skinned blonds?

It seems that, even when they are in the act of working, "Hispanics" are suspected of criminal intentions.

Like this comment
Posted by Tania
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 27, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Do not pull race card that quickly. I would certainly report on anyone who entered my place without permission or advance notice for whatever reason, and I am sure everyone would. It is spooky and color of the skin has nothing to do with it.

Like this comment
Posted by SkepticAl
a resident of Ventura
on May 27, 2008 at 5:26 pm

From this little bit of info, hard to say for sure, though I could certainly see why someone would call the police when there are unexpected people in your home.

If there's any race question here, for me, the question would be why the reporter mentions the race of the workers. Based on the reporting, we can't tell if race was part of the resident's thinking or not. But since we're not describing suspects at large or even describing a crime, and since there's no suggestion that the caller was suspicious based on race, then I question the reporting. Hard to imagine an article stating, "The man who made the call believed the three white workers had been checking out his house for a future burglary."

Like this comment
Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 27, 2008 at 7:38 pm

If the plumbing was actually broken ... it says he showed them the broken parts of the plumbing...why is this even news?

Bad reporting job because this is all just anecdotal without any hard facts. Did the Weekly even bother to try and contact the plumber, or if the landlord had ordered plumbing?

Like this comment
Posted by Fred
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I have a leaky sink. Do you think I should leave my doors unlocked and hope that Robin Hood and his band of merry plumbers break in and fix it?

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