News

Burglars hit Duveneck school -- again

Third theft in four weeks at the Palo Alto elementary school, amid rash of school break-ins

Burglars have preyed on Duveneck Elementary School in Palo Alto a third time in four weeks, striking again on Sunday (Aug. 7) through the same window that was smashed only two weeks ago.

The thief or thieves removed a board covering the window, which was attached with nails or screws after the previous incident, police Officer Heather Souza said.

The theft was discovered at 12:30 p.m. Four digital cameras valued at $300 total were taken, she said.

The burglary is the latest in a series of break-ins at Palo Alto public schools in which thousands of dollars of digital equipment, from laptops to cameras, have been stolen.

In two earlier incidents at Duveneck, burglars took $6,000 worth of cameras and computer equipment on July 8 or 9 and stole $23,000 worth of equipment on July 25, police said.

Six digital cameras worth $3,600 total were taken from a Palo Alto High School classroom during the July 23 weekend, and two laptops valued at $2,200 total were taken from a classroom at Gunn High School either July 21 or 22.

Jordan Middle School was burglarized July 28 when thieves stole five Apple Macbooks valued at a total of $2,500 to $4,500, according to police.

Two 18-year-olds, Alfredo Gonzalez and Nayely Castillo of East Palo Alto were arrested Aug. 3 in connection with the Gunn thefts.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by same place
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 9, 2011 at 10:05 am

Were the newly stolen cameras stored in exactly the same place as the previously stolen cameras? Or were they stored in a new location that only a couple of people new about?


Like this comment
Posted by Billy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:07 am

Valuable electronics should be stored in a secure way and location where people can't visually see the equipment and where they are not as easily accessible if someone wanted to steal them. It's kind of like breaking the window of a car to grab a lap top computer off the front seat. Way too easy to steal! Maybe the school can build something for this equipment like a bank vault....


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

If the police in this town would patrol instead of just going somewhere when called by someones cell phone they could catch a lot more criminals.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Either schools are targets and high-value electronics etc. should be well-secured (duh!) and/or this has a ring of an insider criminal activity (where they know where the good stuff is-)
Either way, it is offensive to me as a local taxpayer who has to fund these items (while the schools constantly cry poverty)that the school district has not taken reasonable care to lock up/hide/store such "attractive nuisance" valuables. COme on, let's learn from past experience. How about occasional roving security guards - stakeouts - securing windows - hiding valuables - installing security video cameras with warning signs and whatever else the police would recommend to deter crime?


Like this comment
Posted by Sill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm

This may be a school but there is obviously a roadblock to learning with the staff. Here's a tip: lock up any expensive electronic equipment that was paid for with tax-payer money. (Just storing them in a locked room with normal glass windows and no alarm does not count.)

For this to happen more than once is just silly.


Like this comment
Posted by issues
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm

This is now just silly - ALL the PAUSD schools should realize that valuable equipment needs to be more securely locked up than it is. BTW -SILL, these items were probably purchased with PTA funds, not tax-papers money.


Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Member is I'll-informed.


Like this comment
Posted by Isn't Rocket Science
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Don't blame the police - they cannot be everywhere at every second!

Superintendent Kevin Skelly (Harvard grad) should have removed the electronics after the first two burglaries. Does an Ivy League degree guarantee a person has common sense?


Like this comment
Posted by Jess
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Hey Member, unlike you, I'll choose to blame the thieves who committed the crime, not the police who apparently you believe can cover every square inch of the city at all times. From what I have read, they are already working with less officers and resources. Save some of your frustration for the idiots who are breaking into the schools.


Like this comment
Posted by Ana
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Not sure if I will give any money to the PTA to buy things that will be just there waiting for the next incident. Something MUST be done to protect our schools. Who is responsible for the security of the buildings??? I am not helping the PTA if there is no safety plan for the schools.


Like this comment
Posted by Jorgen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm

The kids will be happy to hear that. "Not helping the PTA...." good solution. The PTA is really to blame.
Perhaps citizens concerned about the lack of security in our schools should write directly to:
Kevin Skelly
25 Churchill Ave
Palo Alto Ca 94303
Let him know he needs to a better job of insuring the safety of our school properties.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Well, it seems to me that certain people in the district office or school are either 1) on vacation and there is no one covering for them, 2) are preoccupied with preparing for the new school year, or 3) just don't care (because it's their summer vacation). I hope that it is not #3... Everyone deserves his/her summer vacation, but it's also their responsibility to make sure that valuables are safe and locked before leaving for the summer.

I would also not rush to blame the police for not preventing the burglary. I heard an officer say that the dept is short staffed due to budget cuts. I will not say how many are on patrol in the evenings, but you'd be astounded if you found out.


Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm

How many of you lock up your laptops, digital cameras, Iphones, Ipads, etc.? I'm assuming you have windows and doors just like the schools. Why should the schools do anything different? Let's look into who is committing these crimes and why.


Like this comment
Posted by Isn't Rocket Science
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm

@parent: our house has a burglar alarm so we do not lock up our valuables and we close our window shades when we leave the house. Are there drapes and burglar alarms at the schools? Or are the electronics in plain sight?

Parent's posting: "Let's look into who is committing these crimes and why." Get real; they are committing the crimes sell for cash.


Like this comment
Posted by Sol
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm

I worked at a school years back and was shocked at the number of teachers that leave school computers and cameras out for the taking. Even more shocked to find windows left open and doors left unlocked. It is not the superintendents responsibility to monitor these many times young teachers who are not used to picking up after themselves. School staff should be held accountable if it happens more than once.


Like this comment
Posted by me
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2011 at 6:32 am

The schools have insurance that probably covers all this electronic equipment. If the laptops get stolen every summer, with the insurance money, they can get the lates and greatest Macbooks and other electronics. Electronics become obselete in a couple of years. Thats probably why they keep leaving these items in classrooms instead of the central office.


Like this comment
Posted by Criminals
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 10, 2011 at 7:09 am

"Let's look into who is committing these crimes and why."

For this crime, this makes sense.

It doesn't for the larger issue of increased crime in P.A.


Like this comment
Posted by Think about it
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

In Britain at present the streets are full of looters, rioters and common criminals who seem to be taking pleasure in taking stuff that is not theirs.

This is not just a British problem, but a society problem.

We are not raising young people with the right values. We cannot punish children in schools for stealing another child's property. We cannot spank our kids. We cannot teach them the values that a generation ago were the norm.

Stop excusing bad behavior, start punishing young kids in school in old fashioned ways rather than "talking it out". Teach consequences rather than excuses.


Like this comment
Posted by teacher
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

It isn't as easy as some think to lock everything up everyday. Teachers do put everything in the closet during the summer but there are open spaces where you simply cannot lock items up. During the school year, it would be unrealistic to lock everything up every night in a locked closet. I do believe we should get alarm systems and lock the windows but seems like that isn't stopping the burglars anymore. Also, some of us may be a bit naive to think that we know everything about what the district should be doing. The only way we should judge is to ask Kevin what they are doing to protect our schools. If he gives a solid answer, then we should trust that. I'm assuming they are working on this at the district level. Have some trust or ask directly to our school district instead of writing on here all your judgments on who is to blame.


Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

Think about it is right. We excuse too much behavior, and fail to instill personal responsibilty in our younger people- in any age. Politcal correctness has thrown common sense out the window. This does NOT mean that we turn into harsh police state, but we need to find a middle ground, and it is up to us, not the government, to think for ourselves, and our society, and to make changes. It also requires self-discipline, not a popular activity, but necessary.


Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:53 am

teacher's response is what drives me crazy: it is the teacher's responsibility to do the best to lock up, to think for him or herself, and not depend on 'Kevin'. Yes, it is hard to put away things every night, and there may not be space for all of them, but it is YOUR classroom, and YOUR equipment in the classroom that you are custodian of. Don't just pass the buck.


Like this comment
Posted by agreed
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 10, 2011 at 10:00 am

I agree with Anne ,teachers are always our kids' role model, if a teacher is lazy or eating or checking games in his/her classroom in front of kids,how would you expect kids behave and learn.


Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

This is strange. Duveneck is lit up along Alester at night like a Christmas tree. So the perps are either on foot or there is a vehicle parked along the fence or a nearby street like Hamilton. Or maybe it was daytime? It's very unlikely the stolen property could be hauled away without a car - or could it? Someone with a backpack on a bicycle? Everybody in any school area should be on the alert. e.g. telltale flashlights, a car parked in the neighborhood (get a license number). Every school is on the hit list.


Like this comment
Posted by Ana
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Teachers and school administrators need to be responsible for the classroom equipment. I cannot donate to PTA and/or PIE if no one is taking responsibility to care for our schoo's equipments. It is not right for my money to be wasted away bc everyone is busy with other things.


Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm

It amazes me that people will look for any excuse to not donate to PiE or their PTA. Robberies happen, the economy is terrible, there are people who have nothing and want what everyone else has. Go figure.


Like this comment
Posted by Cathy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Ana, PTA funds primarily cover school supplies - paper, pencils, books etc. If there is a surplus then they are used to buy the 'nice to have' items like computers, printers, specialized cameras etc. Pie funds cover teachers aids and classroom subjects like art and music. A knee jerk reaction to cut your funding to both organizations would deprive our kids of such essential supplies (PTA) and enrichment curricula (Pie). I agree that equipment purchased out of PTA funds - and by definition from the generosity of the school parents - should be looked after much more carefully that they appear to be but please don't take it out on these still very worthwhile programs.


Like this comment
Posted by chooseone
a resident of Monroe Park
on Aug 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm

If pta volunteering work is also counted,then I wish I can contribute money to PTA instead of those work.I love our schools.I do not want to cut it.


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

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