Cars that Palo Alto residents said were locked and have alarm systems were burglarized on Saturday, May 21, leaving some residents baffled over the mystery of how burglars got into their cars.
At least five cars were burglarized in the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood in north Palo Alto, residents said. But they could not find any evidence of how the burglars entered. The rash of burglaries sent many residents to their computers on Sunday morning, emailing warnings to their neighbors about the incidents.
A Lexus and BMW that have security systems and were locked were burglarized in the driveway of a home on Edgewood Drive. From the outside, it looked as though nothing had happened. The burglars took iPods and change, the owners told neighbors in an email.
"I went to look and exactly the same happened to both our cars in the driveway. How did they get in? … Looks like nothing is damaged, luckily, just all messed up," a Channing Avenue resident said.
Two more residents said the glove compartments of their cars were burglarized, with cash taken.
Residents speculated on how the cars could have been broken into. All said they were pretty convinced their vehicles were locked.
One resident surmised the burglar has a programmable remote that was set to unlock the cars, but how the burglar could program a remote to simulate a vehicle remote was a mystery, he said, particularly since whatever was used worked on different car models.
Lt. Scott Wong said he checks nationwide alerts regarding crime alerts and trends each day. During his career, he has not seen any incidents in which criminals are using remotes to gain access to locked vehicles, he said.
One couple who were victims of the apparent burglary spree said although they are careful to lock their cars at night, they realized it was possible they had neglected to do so.
"The lesson here is that the thieves are casing the area regularly and probably checking the doors of every car that strikes their fancy. it's a very good reminder to make absolutely certain you've locked your car."
Police said Monday morning that the burglaries were not unusual, citing car break-ins that occur every week.