Suspects escape after burglary in Palo Verde neighborhood

Police outside house for hours Monday night after suspected burglary

Palo Alto police surrounded a Palo Verde home for five hours after receiving a report of forced entry Monday night but officers were ultimately unable to find the suspects, who had apparently fled just before the police arrived.

The resident, a woman in her 30s, had returned to her home in the 800 block of Ames Avenue with her baby and an adult relative at about 6:26 p.m. when she saw that the back door had been forced open. All three went outside to call the police, at which time she heard a door inside her home slam shut.

Police arrived minutes later and used the woman's smart phone to access surveillance footage from inside her home. As they watched video footage of two suspects inside her bedroom, the video cut off, possibly as a result of one of the men inside turning off the power to the surveillance system, according to police.

Other officers soon arrived at the scene, surrounded the home and repeatedly called out through a megaphone for the men to come out with their hands up. They also later brought in police dogs to search the lower level of the home.

At about 9:30 p.m., the department's Crisis Negotiation Team and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team arrived -- units that specialize in situations where suspects barricade themselves.

Police also used the AlertSCC notification system to notify residents in a one-block radius around the house to remain inside with their doors locked. Police said 93 homes in the area received the notifications.

Officers finally entered the home at about 11:28 p.m., but could not find the suspects. The SWAT team also searched nearby yards and hiding places before declaring the entire scene clear at about 11:45 p.m., according to a press release. All the residents who were notified to stay indoors received a notification that the situation was resolved.

Police later discovered that the footage they had seen on the smartphone had not been live, as they originally thought, but was recorded earlier in the evening. Officers determined that there was "a small window of time prior to police arrival during which the suspects escaped," according to a press release.

An investigation indicated that the suspects broke into the home between 5:45 p.m. and 6:25 p.m. by forcing open a rear door after getting into the backyard from an unlocked side gate. The suspects, described as two black men in their mid-20s wearing all black clothing, allegedly ransacked the home and stacked several "valuable items" near an exit door. As of late Monday night, officers had not yet determined what had been stolen.

Police said they are not ruling out the possibility that additional suspects were involved. Officers are reviewing footage to find video snippets or stills that are sufficiently clear to help identify the suspects.

Officers received assistance during the response from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (which provided one canine unit) and the Stanford Department of Public Safety, which helped set up the perimeter.

Police released Tuesday a still from the surveillance video that shows the two men, and is asking anyone

with information about the incident to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


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Posted by PV Neighbor
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 24, 2014 at 10:30 pm

If this home backs onto Palo Verde school, is this going to affect school tomorrow?

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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2014 at 10:50 pm

What are the odds the police are talking to an empty house at this point?

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Posted by Ymember
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I'm not sure if it backs exactly onto Palo Verde, but I was at the Y tonight and drove by twice within 2 hours and they were still there. The home is very close to the corner of Ross and Ames. If your heading north towards the Y from Loma Verde, you turn left onto Ames and its about 2 to 3 houses down on the right side. Hope that helps...

2 people like this
Posted by Siddharth Srinivasan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Siddharth Srinivasan is a registered user.

Your address is wrong. This isn't happening in Iowa.

Like this comment
Posted by jj
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 25, 2014 at 9:28 am

This is the direct result of the newly created crisis management position....

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Posted by Clint
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 25, 2014 at 10:14 am

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Numbers
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 25, 2014 at 10:58 am

[Post removed.]

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Posted by H1B Really?
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

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Posted by silly
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I would rather a waste of resources than the opposite. Could be like San Jose where they wouldn't even come to your house for a call like this. Glad everyone is safe.

Like this comment
Posted by a scout
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I don't know about anyone else nearby, but as I was attending a troop meeting in Palo Verde, at about 8:00, I saw a two middle aged African-American men wearing dark clothes walk through the school. They fit the description on the article.

Like this comment
Posted by PV Neighbor
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm


I trust you have given this information to PAPD. This sounds exactly the sort of info they have requested from the article.

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

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