Palo Alto police release sketch in juvenile-assisted burglaries

Young boy and adults engaged in burglary spree in Palo Alto, police report

Palo Alto police have provided more details and released a sketch in a search for a young boy and adults engaged in a residential-burglary spree in Palo Alto in the past month.

Detective Brian Philip said a boy who looks about 10 years old was confronted inside one home and seen jumping from the window of another, and adults have been in the area.

"These particular burglaries are unique due to the fact that in two cases, a young juvenile enters the residence while an adult waits outside," Philip said.

He said the juvenile is described as a Hispanic male with long brown hair and approximately 10 years old. The boy is approximately 5 feet tall and about 100 pounds, witnesses reported.

Philip said three incidents have occurred since July 17.

The first incident on July 17 was in the 300 block of Embarcadero Road at midnight, when a resident arrived home and found the boy inside her house. He fled out an open window. Philip said no adults were seen waiting and nothing appeared to be missing.

The second burglary occurred July 19 in the 400 block of Lytton Avenue at 1:30 p.m. When confronted by a resident the boy said he was attempting to deliver carpet to a neighboring address. The resident told police that a Hispanic male in his 20s appeared to be waiting for the boy outside the residence.

The adult is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall and about 120 pounds (see sketch, courtesy of the Palo Alto Police Department). The resident reported that a skateboard was missing, but the incident was not immediately reported to police, Philip said.

The third incident occurred July 20 at noon in the 700 block of East Charleston Road. He said the boy attempted to enter the residence through a side door but ran away when he encountered the resident. The resident said he heard a group of what he believed to be Hispanic females outside the residence as the suspect fled.

The incident was not reported to police until 8 p.m., Philip said.

He said citizens should report suspicious persons or activity to police immediately, either by calling 911 in the case of an emergency or calling the non-emergency number, 650-329-2413.

Police Capt. Bob Beacom initially disclosed the burglary team July 21 at an open-air "Meet the Chief" community meeting at Juana Briones Park in south Palo Alto, when residents met with police Chief Dennis Burns.

Other than circumstantial indications, there is no direct evidence that the burglars are in fact from the same family -- but the entering of occupied homes creates a higher level of risk than burglaries of empty houses, police warn.

"Cat burglaries are the most dangerous," Lt. Scott Wong said.

"The vast majority occur because the doors and windows are unlocked." A cat burglar enters a house with people in it, usually sleeping -- dangerous because of the possibility of a confrontation with the occupants.

Wong urged residents to "get to know your neighbors and secure your property" to help prevent future burglaries.

He said some would-be thieves pretend to be solicitors. Citizens who become suspicious of a solicitor can call the department's anonymous tip line at 650-329-2190, or text or e-mail a description of the solicitor to Those who relay information anonymously are assigned a number to maintain confidentiality.

— Palo Alto Online staff

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Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm

How sad that an adult (or group of adults) would involve a child into their deviant activity!

This is the LOWEST of lows! Those adults need to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law...and never have the ability to influence children ever again!

Like this comment
Posted by ???
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm


This article is RACIST.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Fischer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 29, 2010 at 11:10 pm

It is what it is!!!!!!.....nothing racial at all might be a local illegal gargening or pre-maintenance connection service. But of course "no reciepts".

Like this comment
Posted by mr welcome MATthew
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2010 at 1:08 am

Strong possibility that’s its just another acceptable PC activity of the undocumented amongst us, don’t be fooled, the authorities would have you believe that there’s a mere 10-12 million such individuals visiting, this from the people that have spent billions of tax dollars bringing us the 2010 census. Try more like 50-60 million undocumented one way migratory illegals and that’s just from our southern US boarder.

If you think that some portion of a mere 10-12 million people could be adding such a financial hurt on so many states across our nation you should take another marijuana club time out.

Our nation could absorb 5-10 million without batting an eye, but 20, 30, 40 million and you have just what is reported, bankrupted states, social services run amok, BS injury lawsuits, jails over flowing, 50% HS drop out rates & last but not least you libs in your underwear saying “hey there what are you doing in my house!” to which they will answer “¿Ningún pantalones del Sr qué hace usted en nuestra casa?

Its time we place the blame where it belongs, squarely on our and the perpetrating countries leaders that continue to ignore and allow it.

Like this comment
Posted by & secondly
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2010 at 1:14 am

& Yes shame on any parent that would endanger a child by feeding them headfirst into a residential burglary like that, although its not surprising why they choose to do it in PA think about it, PA ain't no San Antonio, better get more home insurance, good luck, LOL.

Like this comment
Posted by Jay Thorwaldson
editor emeritus
on Jul 30, 2010 at 9:20 am

Jay Thorwaldson is a registered user.

Relating to the "racist" comment above, the Weekly and most newspapers across the nation follow guidelines in the Associated Press Stylebook, and have for more than a half century. The entry for "Hispanic" in the current stylebook is "A person from -- or whose ancestors were from -- a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino or Latina are sometimes preferred. Follow the person's preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban Puerto Rican or Mexican-American." Such things evolve -- a 2007 stylebook called Hispanic the "preferred term" unless a specific preference for Latino/Latina is known.

Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:30 am

LOL! "Hispanic" is not a derogatory comment! I am a woman who was born in Mexico and immigrated (legally) to the United States with my family when I was in grade school. However, I am a US citizen.

I have no problem if someone would refer to me as "Hispanic." I don't like "Latina" because it is ambiguous and I don't speak Latin. I don't like "Mexican" because I no longer consider myself a "Mexican" (although "Mexicano" is the most common description used by people that I know). I don't like "Chicano" because I am not from the western United States where the word originated. So, I am left with "Hispanic" as a physical description.

However, I really don't care how anyone can refers to a description of my race or ethnicity. In fact, I think that people who complain about such things are usually going out of their way to be a somewhat divisive. I mean, how often do Irishmen or Italians complain about being labeled "white?"


Like this comment
Posted by Brenda
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:39 am

Nayell comment is right on. I am "Hispanic White" but loathed to be called Lanina because it is a lame term made up by certain people to be more correct, but it turns out to be more incorrect e.g. Latin is a word; Latina is Spanglish. The problem that unless one knows the source of the person, of the 27 countries of possibilities, nothing else will do. The Spanish speaking peoples in South and Central America are a melting pot of all races, and distinct, so better Hispanic than other term.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm


This child needs to be taken away from this horrid family, receive counseling, and placed in a foster family that can provide understanding, kindness, positive boundaries, morals and values! Not placed in juvenile hall aka children's jail! And, age-appropriate community service that reinforces caring and giving versus indifference and stealing.

The child's ethnicity has nothing to do with this! We are all just people- period. The San people of the Kalahari Desert were the 'grandparents' of all of us whether we like it not! None of us have a 'mark' of evil stamped upon us because of the country or continent we began before coming to America. Those yelling racism appear to be the worst racists today.

Like this comment
Posted by non chicano
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm

but related ,but prefer term chicano. it sounds more ancient and rooted.

Like this comment
Posted by does it matter
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm

latino implies the connection to latin america, not necessarily the latin language. hispanic stems from a government label.

Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Hi does it matter...

"Latin America" has never been very "Latin" to begin with. While Spanish is a language that partially traces its origins to Latin, I just never understood who came up with the idea of labeling an entire portion of the Americas as "Latin America."

In fact, it was called "Hispanic America" (or "América Hispánica") in all of the textbooks that I read in Mexico -- noting that its inhabitants are a mixture of peoples from America and Hispania (the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and the lands surrounding it). So, it isn't a "government label" any more than "Latin America" is a "government label." Of course, "white" is also a "government label."

I actually think that it is humorous to see someone get offended by such well-meaning descriptions. I don't think that anyone uses such terms in a derogatory manner. In addition, there are so many easily offended people out there who just wouldn't be happy with ANY term that identifies them in a physical sense. I find it silly that anyone would be so easily offended.

So, if I see that a suspect is Chicano, Latino, Hispanic or Mexican-American -- I have a decent physical description of that particular suspect in my mind.

Like this comment
Posted by does it matter
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm


your thoughts and reference to facts in text are nice, but in the end, latin america is still latin america, hence, the connection to latino/a.

i agree with you that it's humorous that someone is offended at descriptions because, you're right, they are not used in a derogatory manner. however, people will look for ways to spark up a debate of any kind. very exhausting and even pointless to explain in detail.

Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Hi does it matter...

I suppose that is the essence of what I am trying to say. I have known individuals who debate incessantly over silly issues like this. It seems like EVERYTHING is an excuse to debate over petty issues. I guess that it is akin to making "mountains out of mole hills."

I still hate to hear someone bring charges of racism into a topic. Once, I was commenting anonymously on a Yahoo message board about the immigration debate and someone called me a "racist" against Hispanics -- when I am Hispanic (or Latina, Mexicana, Chicana, or whatever someone wants to politely label me) and was born and raised in Mexico until junior high school! It would have been funny if it had not been so sad.

In my opinion, such silly allegations of racism in petty matters cheapens the concept when REAL cases of racism are discussed.

Thanks for your comments...and I wholeheartedly agree with your point!


Like this comment
Posted by White latina and proud
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm

To me it seems like all Mexicans hate to be called anything that refers to their race. Let these reporters call the damn kid hispanic. All my friends who are Mexican can't stand to be called Mexican-American, Chicano, or even just Mexican. Be they born here, or over there, they are still of Mexican origins. Oh but come cinco de mayo then everyone wants to be Mexican again and even claim the fame more so than being American. Geez, I am actually proud to be a White Belizena, no debates or bias nonsense there. My native language isn't even spanish but because of the location of my parents country I don't mind being labeled hispanic or Latina.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Fischer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2010 at 11:04 pm

A silly senseless debate it is.,..........The nature of the article is a child who should legally be in school,..whom is also in the school of crime promotion as we have thus so been informed. I will say cheap labor is clearly not cheap especially if your paying cash and no contractor description,or clear personal identity,....You are also putting your neighbors at risk to be cased out,..for future interest of criminal activity. If you hire the immigrants to work your property,"that we Americans don't want to do"'... how do you know where they reside?...................Although some of them will do a good job and come back and do another job on your next door neighbor. You no the saying,.."Buy American",..and the problem will go away!!!! Debate that issue. (GO FOR IT ARIZONA)

Like this comment
Posted by Thanks
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 2, 2010 at 12:31 am

Wow, I really learned a lot here from the postings sparked by the immature student who began with the incomprehensible "racist" comment.

My only question is whether "Hispanic" is an accurate description since everyone who speaks Spanish wants to be in that category. Wouldn't there be a difference in appearance of a "Hispanic white" versus a "Mexican"?

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm

How amazing! Reading these comments, very few people actually commented on the topic at hand!
Most sidetracked to a debate on the politically correct or personally preferred 'labeling' of persons who themselves or their families originated from a country in Central or South America!

It is another example of the egocentricity of people these days!
Very few actually had any concern for the topic at hand including this unfortunate child!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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