News

Bike thieves nabbed in College Terrace

Palo Alto police also find drugs, stun gun in suspects' vehicle

Two bike thieves who police said possessed burglary tools, a stun gun and crystal meth, were arrested in College Terrace on Sunday morning after officers spotted their SUV parked at a Jack in the Box on El Camino Real.

Police began scouring the College Terrace neighborhood for the bike thieves after receiving a 10:23 a.m. phone call from a resident who spotted a man and a woman stealing a bicycle from a neighbor's house on the 2300 block of Wellesley Street, between College and California avenues. The thieves reportedly removed the bike, which was locked to itself, from the home's carport.

The caller told the police that the vehicle, a 1999 GMC Jimmy, already had another bike on its roof and provided the Jimmy's license-plate number.

Three minutes after the call, police spotted the suspects' Jimmy parked in a lot on Jack in the Box. It was unoccupied and there were no bikes on its roof, according to the police. Minutes later, they saw the woman, later identified as Deborah Alley Gerkin, walking out of the Jack in the Box bathroom. They detained her.

At around the same time, an officer in a different police cruiser spotted the male suspect with two bicycles on the 500 block of College Avenue. One of them, police said, was the bike stolen from the Wellesley Street home; the other one was identified as having been stolen earlier that morning from a locked shed of a Yale Street home. Both bikes were returned to their rightful owners, police said.

The bikes weren't the only suspicious item the police found on the two suspects. Inside the vehicle, officers found crystal methamphetamine, a stun gun and a bag of burglary tools.

Police arrested Gerkin, 46, and Roberty Solorzano-Rodriguez on two counts of felony burglary, a count of felony narcotic possession for sales and a count of felony conspiracy. They were also charged with three misdemeanors for possession of burglary tools, illegal possession of a stun gun and being under the influence of narcotics, respectively. Gerkin was also booked for transporting narcotics, a felony, while Solorzano-Rodriguez was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

In their announcement, police lauded the neighbor for quickly calling 9-1-1 and reporting the burglary. The timely notification and the calling party's ability to quickly jot down the license plate of the Jimmy was "a major help to this investigation," police said. Officers also recommend that residents lock their bikes to stationary objects, not just wheel to frame.

Anyone with information about these incidents or suspects is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Hurrah! Great teamwork here. Congratulations to the alert caller and to the on-the-ball policemen who separately intercepted both robbers. Many thanks!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Good job to the neighbor who called the police and to the police for responding promptly and effectively. I hope that other neighbors will not hesitate to call the police in other suspicious situations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jess
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Hurraad!! Congrats...to the police and watchful citizens! Jack n the Box is notorious for being a magnet for crime-creators....in every town, period. In Mountain View...it's a sore spot, there's been shootings, and multiple arrests.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Funny, I checked the PA and MV police logs and there does not appear to be any pattern of criminal activity at either jack in the box. Care to provide some proof for your claim, Jess?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I like that Jack in the Box, because when I see people in need in its vicinity, I can easily buy them meals.

I wonder if it's been in Palo Alto longer than Sara has?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ronz
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Lived here and been going to JB for some 30 years. Only criminals I've seen hanging out are underage hungover frat boys getting a JJ fix.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm

"Lived here and been going to JB for some 30 years. Only criminals I've seen hanging out are underage hungover frat boys getting a JJ fix."

Bill, you have not lived in CT for very long. Otherwise, you would know that Jack-in-the-Box, in CT, is a center for homeless, car campers and criminals.

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ed
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Respectively vs respectfully. Important distinction, Palo Alto Online.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Terrace Antelope
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Terrace Antelope is a registered user.

I'm with Sara on this one. We could do a lot better than the Jack in the Box.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

While in HS in the 70s, we'd hit JB for a late night 3 tacos for $1 or several Breakfast Jacks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Drew
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 23, 2013 at 11:03 pm

JB is open inside 24/7 as of this year I believe.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 24, 2013 at 12:19 am

"Bill, you have not lived in CT for very long. Otherwise, you would know that Jack-in-the-Box, in CT, is a center for homeless, car campers and criminals."

Careful who you lump together there. Homelessness, in itself, is not a criminal act, and neither is being a car camper.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GoodJob
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2013 at 7:29 am

Many thanks to the CT resident who spotted the thieves, their car, and license plate number, then reported it to the police. Good neighbors are the best source of crime prevention. Great follow up by the police too. Crystal meth, stun gun! We are all a little safer with these two off the streets.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2013 at 7:31 am

I said the same thing, just me, about homelessness and car camping are not against the law, but it was deleted. I wonder why?
Also people have list the focus of what this story is about -- the capture of bike thieves. They happened to be caught in the jack in the box and therefore a torrent of negative comments has been unleashed against the customers and workers in the store. You would think that the people on this thread would have more important things to do-- isn't there a sign going up somewhere that upsets someone??


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 24, 2013 at 8:22 am

Crooks gotta eat too Sara.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rose
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

That Jack in the Box has been there since the 1980s (at least)l I remember going there when I was in college in the mid 1980's. And I'm not a bike thief or car camper....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gsheyner
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

gsheyner is a registered user.

Thanks, Ed. I fixed it. Sorry.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by tired of you
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2013 at 10:12 am

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

"Sounds like CT is the source of crime. Can't we close CT? " I would leave that up to them (secret vote of CT residents?). CT has made a lot of good moves in the past few years, and I commend them for that. If the vote would include the Jack in the Box issue, I really think the CT residents would vote very highly in favor of CT over the Jack. Do you disagree?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm

stanhutchings is a registered user.

...makes me think that along with a bicycle license (which in my experience has been useless in recovering stolen bikes), perhaps a tracking device could be added to the bike. It must be unadvertised and not readily detected, so thieves know nothing about it. It must also be able to be activated remotely if the bike is stolen and have a reasonable broadcast range. Some or all police cruisers would be equipped with a tracker, but never reveal they used the tracking device to find the bike. Sounds like a real opportunity for entrepreneurs...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Since it's a "center" for criminal activity as well as homeless and car campers (both currently still legal), perhaps Sara should notify the feds in case they can make a RICO case. Merry Christmas, Sara!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Bru is a registered user.

Crescent Park Dad
>> While in HS in the 70s, we'd hit JB for a late night 3 tacos for $1 or several Breakfast Jacks.

LOL ... I used to go across the Street to H. Salt Esquire Fish & Chips, a lot of my friends worked there in the 70's. Then it was a Chinese place, now it's Panda Express ... no criminals at either place that I've ever seen. Those fish & chips were the best, you just cannot find anything like them anymore ... as were the burgers at the Amber Lantern, where StarBucks is now ... they were great and you cannot even find anything remotely as good, or as big anymore.

I never noticed the area was any more or less a hangout for criminals or homeless. The bad spots used to be the bars. This was the best time in Palo Alto, right before the cocaine and crack epidemics and crime waves from EPA, San Jose and Oakland.

Congrats and thanks to those who called the police as well ... gotta love the community involvement, and the PAPD, the smartest police in the area!

Maybe JITB is the only place criminals and homeless can afford to eat?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Bru is a registered user.

> Officers also recommend that residents lock their bikes to stationary objects, not just wheel to frame.

Ouch, maybe the criminals were not the only ones taking drugs ... who just locks their bike to itself? LOL


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 26, 2013 at 8:42 am

SteveU is a registered user.

Bru
Sometimes that is all you can do LEGALLY.
It is illegal to lock you bicycle to city property (eg light post, street sign).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Social Butterfly
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 29, 2013 at 12:11 am

Social Butterfly is a registered user.

Two bikes?? Think they wanted fries with that also????


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


To post your comment, please click here to Log in

Remember me?
Forgot Password?
or register. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

Cho's, beloved dim sum spot, to reopen in Los Altos
By Elena Kadvany | 8 comments | 5,782 views

Why I Became Active in Palo Alto Forward
By Steve Levy | 12 comments | 2,236 views

Early Decision Blues
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,783 views

Guest Post from HSSV: Adopt a Naughty Dog!
By Cathy Kirkman | 2 comments | 1,453 views

First Interview
By Sally Torbey | 8 comments | 945 views