A door-to-door solicitor was arrested this week after she was spotted entering two backyards through unlocked side yard gates, according to Palo Alto police.
The woman was spotted walking in the back yard of a home on the 1200 block of Dana Avenue shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday by a personal trainer working for the home's resident, Lt. Zach Perron said.
When the trainer made eye contact with the woman, she left the back yard. He then contacted her in the front yard and she told him she was offering house cleaning services, and handed him a flyer.
The suspicious trainer then watched the woman, and called police after he saw her enter another backyard on the 1000 block of Lincoln Avenue.
Police detained 19-year-old Crystal Cross of San Jose, and determined that she had spoken to the resident in the home on the 1000 block of Lincoln after entering the backyard through a side gate, Perron said.
The resident said she had knocked on his front door, offered cleaning services and then asked to use his bathroom. She stayed inside the house for about two minutes and then left.
Police arrested Cross and released her with a misdemeanor citation for prowling. While no burglary or theft occurred during these incidents, police are investigating whether Cross is connected with any other incidents, and also looking into the cleaning services she was offering.
Police are reminding residents that it is unlawful for anyone to solicit door-to-door in Palo Alto without a permit, and there is absolutely no reason for a solicitor to enter someone's back yard or try to gain access to a side yard gate.
"That is absolutely an indicator of criminal activity, and something we want to know about immediately," Perron said. "That warrants a 911 call every time."
Police also strongly recommend against allowing strangers into your home for any reason. Thieves commonly ask to use a bathroom or the phone in order to scope out a home for valuables, Perron said.
Anyone with information on this incident should call police at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.