Edgewood Plaza's Fresh Market burglarized

Two men arrested in Palo Alto burglary; neither stole anything from the market, police say

Palo Alto police arrested two men on Feb. 20 for their alleged involvement in a late-night burglary of The Fresh Market in Edgewood Plaza shopping center. One man was found inside the store and the other inside the first man's car, parked close by, police said.

Police found the men, 52-year-old J. Robyn Welch of San Pablo and 57-year-old James Carlson Goucher of Vallejo, after receiving a burglary alarm alert at the market at about 2:02 a.m. The market was closed at the time.

About two minutes later, officers arrived at the 2170 West Bayshore Road business and discovered an unlocked door on the second floor at the top of an exterior staircase. Police opened the door, identified themselves as police and shouted for anyone inside to come out. Welch gave himself up and cooperated with the officers, who detained him for investigation.

Officers soon located Welch's car, a white 1997 Ford F-350 pick-up truck with an attached trailer, parked nearby on the northbound U.S. Highway 101 off-ramp to Embarcadero Road. Goucher was inside the car and had methamphetmine with him, police said.

After an investigation, both men were arrested for burglary and conspiracy and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail. Goucher was also booked with a single count of felony possession of narcotics.

There were no signs of forced entry at The Fresh Market; police said they believe Welch got in through the unlocked second-door floor. Neither man stole anything from the market, police said.

Detectives are investigating whether either man has been involved in any additional burglaries, either in Palo Alto or surrounding communities.

Police are asking that anyone with information about the men or this incident call 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Although it's obvious that these two were going to rob this place, got to wonder what they would have done if the door to the place had not been left unlocked?

There really should be some consequence to a business that does not install security equipment that can detect that doors are unlocked, that should be locked.

The forgetful act of one employee will result in these guys going to jail (probably) and a lot of the public's money being wasted on the cost of law enforcement. Sure, if these guys were honest--then this would not have happened, but it seems that they were enabled by the store employee's forgetfulness. If they had broken into the place, that would make this a lot worse than it is.

Maybe it's time for one of those "there oughta be a law" laws to consider fining business that don't lock up, and purchase adequate security and surveillance equipment.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 24, 2014 at 11:16 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2014 at 11:23 pm

> incredibly stupid.

Why is expecting commercial enterprises to maintain reasonable security of their operation "stupid"? Do you have any idea how much it's going to cost to put these two guys through the system? It's hard to believe that dealing with them is not going to cost anywhere from $100K to $250K--depending on whether they end up in prison, jail, or some form of incarceration.

The article doesn't say they had burglary tools, so let's suppose that they just walked in because the door was open, and would have moved on if it were not.

So, now these guys are going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money because some body made a simple mistake, and the night manager didn't double check the doors before locking up and going home.

I don't think it's stupid to suggest that the store has some responsibility here--and should be expected to help defray the costs of the law enforcement--rather than the taxpayers, at large.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 25, 2014 at 1:27 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 25, 2014 at 5:09 am

So, did these enterprising guys check every door between San Pablo and Palo Alto before finding one unlocked? Or did they somehow magically know to try this one door at the top of a random staircase? I doubt we have the whole story. Like maybe an experienced lockpicker or a doorjamb vulnerable to finesse. A bobby pin can be a burglary tool, easily tossed away before a culprit gives himself up. Apparently the store's security equipment, combined with PAPD response, was quite adequate in preventing much loss. We don't really want burgle-proof unbreachable doors and barred windows, as any fire department will tell you.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2014 at 6:59 am

There is a difference:

> There really should be some consequence to a business that does not install security equipment that can detect that doors are unlocked, that should be locked.

Incredibly stupid, and mean-spirited.

> Yeah, if that door was locked, they probably would have gone and gotten good jobs, volunteered at a charity

Incredible sarcasm, and funny.

At least I got a laugh from one of them. Let's certainly not forget to blame the victim ... thankfully this was not a sexual assault.

Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

I love Fresh Market, absolutely love the place. Unfortunately, that location has always been trouble,since I moved here in the '70's, and it still is. Remember when Lucky's was there? Cops used to tell people to be very careful if you absolutely had to go there. The first weeks Fresh Market was open, many cars were broken into or vandalized. Side window's shattered, glass on the ground, cars keyed. Various people, including myself, have seen people trying car doors, one car at a time. Adding the bank was sheer stupidity because banks typically aren't placed right next to FREEWAY EXITS! That brings an extra element of risk that the rest of the businesses and shoppers don't need.
Hopefully that center will have camera's facing every angle of that parking lot, front and back.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:15 am

Sorry, but I'm not buying what your saying. If there was such a problem at the new center, it would have been reported in the paper by now. No different that the stories we've heard from Stanford Shopping Center and in certain neighborhoods. Further, I'm over there at least 3x per week (from the very beginning) and have never witnessed anything as to what you're claiming.

Fear mongering, especially without pointing to verified police reports or news reports, is not appreciated.

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

@ Enough! - We lived on Ivy Lane when Lucky's was there, and we never had an issue. My kids used to walk over there.
@ Joe - Do you really think they would have left? Do you think they were expecting to have a door left open for them? The answer to both should be NO! They would have broken in, which is more likely what they went to do. DUH!

I just wonder if there may have been an inside connect - who knows, but they weren't going to simply walk away when they needed more meth! LOL!

Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

Fearmongering? Funny. I would call it advising people to use caution and keep their eyes open and car doors locked. Buy it or not, the troubled history of that shopping center is well known. I've personally witnessed several things go down there. Yes, even recently. I am also a friend of the owner of the wig store that was located there for years. She was ripped off all the time and had her store window's broken. The Shell station has been robbed,and even had a driver kidnapped from right in front of a pump. All in the last year. Call the police department and order a history of the location if you don't believe me. Stanford Shopping Center, where my kids worked the last 15 years, was also plagued with issues, so much so that they finally put the parking lot camera's in since 2009 or '10.

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

@Enough! - It looks like we live in the same area now...Funny!
Fearmongering? No, I didn't say that. I just never felt threatened living over there. There are problems EVERYWHERE in this wonderful world.
These guys...I think either it was an inside job of somekind, or they went there to break in...period.

Posted by PA Native, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

Lots o funny comments here. I, too, love Fresh Market for food items. Cannot be used as a sole source of grocery shopping but fits the bill for preparing a meal.

Cannot compare Lucky's to Fresh Market. Lucky's didn't even feel safe to be inside, nor did it feel like I was in Palo Alto because it was so run-down. I read one report of a car break-in early on at Fresh Market but otherwise feel safe shopping there. Sometimes when people read a couple of criminal reports, their thinking hyperbolizes to events "always" occurring.

It's a relief that the criminals are not from EPA which would confirm and amplify the stereotype.

A law requires banks to install bulletproof glass if they are robbed 3 times (ie: Midtown bank across from Safeway). I'm guessing the bank at Edgewood already has bulletproof glass, and yes, a bank next to a highway is a questionable business decision.

Posted by Duveneck resident, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:53 am

Quit fear mongering about The Fresh Market's center. It has been pristine. I have not seen or heard anything about smashed car windows. I have been a frequent customer.
Every freeway exit on 101 (and most other urban freeways) has likely had incidents. People pass through from all over. It is a fluid situation. There have been car chases on 101 and every other freeway after bad guys, with them exiting and going to gas stations and trying things like carjackings. It is much more rare here, however, than in most places. What, you want to move to Oakland or San Lorenzo or ?
I think the article stated this guy was from far away -- Vallejo? -- he was NOT a local.
He had a fancy truck and trailer yet was on meth, perhaps they ought to consider a way to repossess such vehicles IF a person like this is convicted (either of meth use/sales or robbery/theft or something else). This could help defray costs of incarceration. If restitution is ordered (say if they HAD stolen stuff) I am guessing it is rarely repaid. Yet he owned a truck and trailer.
Crime is bad at times everywhere and I'm glad the police response was swift here.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm

> Blame the victim

Well, it didn't take long for one of the high-priests of the cult of everyone is a victim to show up and start bleeting this complete mindlessness.

While Palo Alto has very low evidence of violent crime, property crimes are rampant in this town. Why—too often it's because people don't lock their homes and cars—and some creeps like these two guys take advantage of that fact. Given their remoteness of their homes, it's clear that they came here to rob someone. The managers of every store needs to be aware of that fact, and put in place double checks, or even triple checks, in their shutdown procedures in order to insure that all of the entrances are properly locked.

The issue of holding businesses, and residents, accountable for false alarms has come up in town before. Although slightly different in detail, the basic issue of requiring people to properly manage their business security is the same. Back around 2005, the police began to fine people whose burglar alarms generated too many false alarms, in addition to their not responding to what were likely to be false alarms:

Web Link

Palo Alto police stop responding to a burglar system for six months if an alarm is triggered falsely more than five times in the period of a year. Approximately 100 businesses and 67 residents were in that state last week.
Scofflaws also face fees for multiple false alarms -- $100 for the third false alarm in a 12-month period, $150 for the fourth, and $200 for all subsequent false alarms.

Councilman Bern Beecham said the ordinance provides motivation.

Even Bern Beecham made sense once in a while.

While the two guys arrested are likely career crimos .. this situation could have been averted with self-locking doors, additional surveillance equipment, and a better night manager.

Posted by Raymond, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

First; just because the police found an unlocked door when they got there, doesn't mean that store employees left it unlocked. it could have been unlocked after the burglars gained entry; we don't know.

Second; in spite of it's proximity to East Palo Alto, the perps were not Black, Latino or Pacific Islander. They are good ol' white guys.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

> don't know that the door was unlocked ..

That's a fair comment. But the article doesn't mention any tools, so it's hard to believe that the perp used a credit card to jimmy the lock.

As to crime at that Plaza location, the City used a high crime rate to justify the razing of the location:

Web Link

Down near the bottom of the link there is an assessment of crime at that location.

Crime data is posted on the police web-page, but not in a very useful format. Expecting the papers to pay attention to every little bit of thievery is expecting a lot.

It wasn't that long ago that there was a death at the Opportunity Center and a goodly number of posters pointed out that the police were called out frequently to this location. Yet, there has never been much in the way of news concerning crime, or other problems, at that location. Why would that be?

Police data going back a long time is also pretty much unavailable.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I also have to wonder if the the door had been unlocked by these guys during business hours, and they just returned later that night. It sounds to me like that door is not frequently used, roof access or some-such. It would therefore probably not be frequently checked. Perhaps one of them ducked into the stairwell, went up and unlocked the door, and then left, and no one noticed the door was unlocked at closing time.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm

> While the two guys arrested are likely career crimos .. this situation could have been averted with self-locking doors, additional surveillance equipment, and a better night manager.

Why do you think it is a better outcome of the situation is averted? Maybe their next stop was your garage? Maybe your wife wold have been taking the trash out and bumped into them and gotten killed. Let's celebrate this arrest instead of whining about it.

Posted by End of the babyboom, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 26, 2014 at 10:55 am

It is great that these men were caught after hours at a business with no one getting hurt rather than climbing into someone's window in the middle of the night. Given that they were there, had their getaway planned and positioned and had meth in the car they would have most likely broken in to somewhere else if they had not been caught then. The alarm system worked well and the police responded quickly. That the police found the getaway vehicle is impresses me. I agree with justme that the probably seldom used door may have been unlocked by one of them during business hours.

Posted by Location, location, location, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 26, 2014 at 3:28 pm

This location has historically been plagued with robberies. The location near an easy, quick freeway entrance probably has something to do with it.

I feel sad for the store owners--it is such a nice store with such friendly employees. But I doubt that they are making much profit--every time I shop there, I am one of only 2-3 customers there.

Posted by cincy, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 28, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I shop at Fresh market almost every other day
and the fact that the gas station is right
there plus the addition of a bank makes it a desire place
to live
What will make it an ideal neighborhood would
be for the patrol officers to make rounds more

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