A burglar rummaging through a Palo Alto house at about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 20 fled after he walked into a bedroom and discovered he had awakened a sleeping resident, police are reporting.
The resident, a man in his 30s, made eye contact with the intruder, a Hispanic male, about 20 years old, with a medium build, short black hair, no facial hair, and wearing dark clothes.
The burglar immediately ran away, and the resident saw a small, silver SUV, likely manufactured within the past five years, "peel out" from in front of the home in the 900 block of El Cajon Way, police stated in a press release.
Because the resident lives with five other people, he initially assumed the stranger may have been a guest of one of his roommates, police stated. After he noticed that drawers in other rooms had been left open and things had been rummaged through, he realized the man had actually been a burglar and called the police.
The burglar likely entered the home through an unlocked sliding screen door in the backyard, after gaining entry to the backyard via an unlocked side yard gate, police said.
It is not yet known what, if any, property was stolen during the burglary.
No other residential burglaries occurred in Palo Alto that day. Detectives do not believe that this case is related to the daytime home-invasion robbery that occurred Jan. 23 on the 400 block of Palo Alto Avenue.
Police encourage residents to always close and lock doors and windows whenever they are out and to lock side-yard gates. If meter readers need to access the utility meter behind a locked gate, residents can call Palo Alto Utilities Customer Service at 650-329-2161 to discuss options.
The Palo Alto Police Department's website has a section on crime prevention tips, at www.cityofpaloalto.org/StopCrime. There are pages on home security, recognizing suspicious behavior, and more.
Police are asking that anyone with information about this case call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.