Big-screen TV, jewelry stolen from Palo Alto home

Neighbors on both sides were home at time of burglary

Residents of a Palo Alto home on Greenwood Avenue returned to find multiple large items stolen from their residence -- in broad daylight while neighbors on both sides were at home, according to neighbors and police.

The burglar or burglars walked out the front door of a home in the 1100 block of Greenwood, between Harriet Street and Hutchinson Avenue, on Tuesday, March 13, between 8:15 and 9:10 a.m.

The person or persons stole a large, flat-screen television, painting, and bags of smaller electronics and jewelry, according to a neighborhood alert. The owners have a large dog in their backyard and an alarm, but it was not set, a neighbor said.

Neighbors said the thief allegedly cut the front-window screens looking for an unlocked window, and found one, through which they entered.

Police spokesman Lt. Zach Perron said Wednesday that contrary to rumors, this type of crime is not being perpetrated by a new crew. There have been multiple cases of large-property thefts, along with the recently publicized porch-package pilfering and iPad and iPod thefts.

Perron said that recent publicity asking for residents to call about suspicious persons or activity has resulted in a considerable increase in such calls. The department is encouraging residents to continue their vigilance. Residents should not hesitate to call any time they suspect unusual activity, he said.

Police will soon roll out a public-education campaign that will include a "laundry list" of crime-prevention tips and a concerted effort to get the message out, Perron said. Police are also planning to use city Public Works and Utilities workers to extend their neighborhood observational reach.

"At any given time, there are 80 City of Palo Alto vehicles out there. We are liaisoning with them to use them as our extra eyes and ears. Patrol staff is just decimated at this time," he said. The department has about 14 vacancies due mainly to retirements of upper-level staff, police have said.

The public can report suspicious persons or activity by calling 911 or dispatch at 650-329-2413.


Like this comment
Posted by AMRW
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Ouch! They're probably kicking themselves for not using their alarm. That's a bummer.

Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Our mailman keeps his cell phone handy. He says "nobody messes with my neighborhood". Bless him.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I'm so sorry to read this. How upsetting! I hope this one gets nabbed right quick. Pretty gutsy choosing a home w/an alarm & a dog (unle of course, the thief didn't know about either). What a lousy way to learn not to be complacent :-(

Like this comment
Posted by Bruce Li
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Palo Alto neighbors,

These burglars are not simply identifying/locating homes that they guess are unoccupied. The vast majority of the time they are knocking on the front door to see if anybody answers. If somebody does answer they make up some excuse for being there and/or just walk away.

It's obvious they're using a vehicle to transport the stolen property, so it's very likely there's a lookout or driver helping out. As Lt. Perron stated report ANY unusual activity, especially somebody knocking at your door that you are not expecting, and look out for your neighbors!

Like this comment
Posted by Tell Me
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:04 am

officer Perron, i wonder what laundry list you have to share. Crime will always be in rich areas no where around it. People as far as Oakland, San jose are coming for loot.

Like this comment
Posted by Lets get the facts right
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

The 14 vacancies aren't beucase of managers leaving. That only accounts for 5 in the last year.

The last 4 that have left were officers. Three went to other departments!

The 14 vacancies which is heading higher is a combination of multiple factors unfortunately.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Like this comment
Posted by not home all day
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

shame this is going on. As a resident who does not own the million $$ apartment I live in, I almost want to put a sign that says: I work hard to pay my rent. Nothing of monetary value is in this house. The flat screen is 3 years old and the macbook even older. The coin jar is mostly filled with pennies. Please find where else to go and something else to do!"

Like this comment
Posted by DDee
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm

C'mon people, don't jump on the neighbors, or the police.
Use your brains.... we are being told to look out for unusual behavior and suspicious activity, yes?
But the crooks are obviously NEITHER suspicious looking NOR engaged (to the onlooker) in unusual behavoir... and neither is the vehicle or vehicles that they are using to cart off the booty.
So..... what does Palo Alto have between 8 am and 2 pm that is abundant, unsispicious and involves behavior that would not raise suspicion even if large objects were loaded into a truck(probably disguised as something else or covered with garbage bags of boxes)?
Answer: Gobs and gobs of gardeners whose full and free access to all parts of the exterieor of the house, including surveying the inside or slipping in through a window, nor carrying what might look like garden debris out with them, would seem odd. The other group of which we have more than our share in those hours are construction workers and crews, about whom the same might apply.
So my guess is that these are either inside jobs carried out by a contractor who knows the owner's schedule, or someone(s) who "look" like they might be hired help.
I will keep my eye out for a gardener or handyman busy working on an odd day or if my neighbor didn't have a gardener in the past or something not easy to detect like that.
So, do I get a reward if my hunch plays out to be right?
If so, apply it toward some really great summer activity or program for all the kids of the much maligned city police and firemen, maintenace crews and other blue-collar staff!

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 17, 2012 at 6:16 am

It's so fashionable in this country to put down the government and berate government workers for their benefits. When we actually reduce and eliminate government, in the form of job cuts and less regulation, the society starts to break down. Ask corporations to patrol the streets, fight crime, douse fires and protect tour water resources and air from pollution and see what happens.

Like this comment
Posted by Two cents
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Why in the world do we have a police force who is supposed to be staffed with 92 officers (according to their website) with 14 current openings? No wonder the city is getting ripped off blind. A friend I have at the police department said their administration has decided not to fill some of the positions. Another poster on another thread said it was actually the City Manager who doesn’t want to fill them. Whoever is making the decisions down at City Hall: FILL ALL THE POSITIONS PLEASE SO OUR HOMES CAN STOP GETTING BROKEN INTO.

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

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