An elderly couple in their 90s awoke on Wednesday morning, July 9, to find their home had been burglarized, Palo Alto police said in a press release.
The couple called police at 8:13 a.m. to report the break-in on the 4000 block of Villa Vista Avenue, which occurred between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., police said. The burglar stole a briefcase containing financial documents from an office and rummaged through drawers in a guest bedroom before slipping away undetected. No one was injured, police said.
The burglar likely hopped a locked side-yard gate before forcibly removing a window screen over an unlocked window at the single-story home. Both residents remained asleep throughout the crime and were unaware that the burglar had been in their home until they awoke later in the morning, police said.
Overnight burglaries of occupied homes are rare in Palo Alto. The last time a similar incident occurred was in July 2012, police said. Residential burglaries have been on the decline. Following a high of 226 reported cases in 2012, the number dropped to 131 in 2013. There have been 69 this year to date, police said.
Detectives are actively investigating the case, and officers are increasing patrols in neighborhoods. Police recommend that residents lock and secure doors and windows overnight or use a dowel or other safety mechanism to prevent windows that are kept open for ventilation from being opened enough to allow a person to climb through.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the free mobile app downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.