A series of recent auto burglaries are being investigated by Palo Alto police, including at least three that were grand thefts involving cash and jewelry, police said.
Thieves struck 11 vehicles since Thursday (Sept. 15), according to police reports, breaking into unlocked cars and smashing car windows.
Items taken included GPS units, laptop computers, iPods, DVD players, cash and jewelry, Agent Max Nielepko said.
Burglars stole a laptop computer and other items from a vehicle in the 400 block of Bryant Street (between University and Lytton avenues) on Sept. 15 and smashed a car window in the 400 block of Portage Avenue on Sept. 16, taking a suitcase, computer bag and other items.
On Sept. 17, a total of seven vehicle break-ins included three vehicles in the 800 block of Northampton Drive (near Barbara Drive and Seale Avenue) and one in the 1400 block of Pitman Avenue (near Center Drive and Dana Avenue), which police termed grand thefts because the losses in each incident were greater than $950.
Nielepko said the grand thefts involves "some significant money values," but detectives are withholding details about these thefts as the investigation is ongoing.
Additional break-ins that day included two vehicles in the 900 block of Blair Court (near Elsinore Drive and Oregon Expressway) and one in the 1800 block of Mark Twain Street (at Embarcadero Road). Two other auto burglaries occurred on Sept. 19, in the 100 block of El Camino Real at the Stanford Shopping Center and the 600 block of Hansen Way near El Camino Real. In the latter incident, the thief or thieves smashed a window and stole an iPod, according to police.
"The police department recommends very strongly if at all possible not to leave valuables in vehicles. It only If you absolutely must store valuables in a vehicle, secure them in the trunk where they can't be seen or easily taken," Nielepko said.
"The unfortunate thing is that many of these crimes are somewhat preventable," and residents should always lock their car doors, he added.
Palo Alto police are working hard to track down the burglars, he said.