Palo Alto police have arrested three teenagers for attempted residential burglary and conspiracy after an alert resident called 9-1-1 when the resident saw two of them allegedly lurking in a neighbor's yard.
The resident observed the two young men allegedly hiding in the front yard of a neighbor's residence in the 1200 block of Lincoln Avenue on Sunday, March 16, at about 7:50 p.m. and called 911.
Officers checked the residence and found that no one was home. Police did not find signs of forced entry, and the suspicious persons were gone. But the caller had video surveillance footage, which showed two male suspects in the front yard of the neighbor's home behind a front gate, according to police.
Officers checked the neighborhood for the two teens and located them at about 8:15 p.m. in the 1200 block of Hamilton Avenue. Police detained the teens for investigation.
A short time later, the homeowner of the house where the suspects had been seen returned home. That homeowner also had video surveillance at their house, and reviewed it with officers. The video showed three persons had been at the residence. The recording showed the third person, who at the time was unidentified, hopped over a gate on the property from the sidewalk and let the other two inside. The video showed the third person was in possession of a crowbar, according to police.
One of the teens, later identified as 18-year-old Rigoberto Lopez-Lugos of East Palo Alto, was allegedly seen walking towards the front door of the home in the video. The other two teens returned to the sidewalk, possibly to act as lookouts, police said. All three left when they noticed the original caller had seen them.
Police booked Lopez-Lugos into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for attempted residential burglary and conspiracy, both felonies. A 15-year-old boy from Sunnyvale was booked on the same charges and released to a parent, as is customary in such cases, police said.
Officers later identified the third teen as a 17-year-old male from Sunnyvale. Police arrested him at his home for the same two charges and a misdemeanor count of possession of burglary tools. He was also released to the custody of a parent.
The Palo Alto Police Department does not release booking photographs of juveniles, nor does it identify them by name.
Police praised the resident who called police.
"The alert neighbor who called 9-1-1 did a great job. They saw behavior that struck them as suspicious, and they immediately called us so we could investigate. That is exactly what we want people to do: trust their instincts and give us a call if something seems suspicious," Lt. Zach Perron said.
Detectives are currently investigating if the teens are tied to any other residential burglaries or attempts in Palo Alto or surrounding communities. Anyone with information about this incident or the teens can contact the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.