News

Rash of auto burglaries hits Palo Alto

Seven vehicles broken into at Stanford Shopping Center, Town & Country Village and Palo Alto Square

Update: On April 30, 2015, seven cars were broken into and items stolen. Cases occurred on El Camino Real near restaurants, including Olive Garden, The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse and So Gong Dong Tofu House. In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry.

Update: On Jan. 8, five vehicles were broken into and items stolen. In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry. Four cases occurred on El Camino Real near restaurants, including Hobee's Restaurant, Town & Country Village and Jack in the Box, while one took place at 1900 Geng Road.

Update: On Dec. 29, two vehicles were broken into and items stolen. One incident took place on El Camino Real near Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and the other case occurred at 450 Cambridge Ave. In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry.

Update: On Dec. 26, three cars were broken into and items stolen. Two cases occurred on El Camino Real near Town & Country Village while one took place on 1015 Alma St. In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry.

Update: On Dec. 23, six vehicles in Palo Alto were broken into and items stolen. All six cases occurred on El Camino Real near restaurants, including Su Hong Eatery, So Gong Dong Tofu House, Town & Country Village and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry.

Update: On Dec. 18, eight vehicles in Palo Alto were broken into and items stolen. Seven cases occurred on El Camino Real near restaurants, including Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, The Fish Market and So Gong Dong Tofu House, while one took place on the 300 block of Curtner Avenue. In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry.

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Seven vehicles were broken into and items stolen in the span of a little more than an hour in Palo Alto on Monday, Dec. 15, according to the Palo Alto Police Department.

The auto burglaries took place in parking lots along El Camino Real between 1:50 and 3:04 p.m.

The first break-in occurred at 1:50 p.m. at the Stanford Shopping Center, at 180 El Camino Real. A second car was burglarized at the shopping center at 1:58 p.m.

Thieves broke into vehicles at Town & Country Village (855 El Camino Real) as well as Palo Alto Square (3128 El Camino Real) and one car near Chipotle Mexican Grill, at 2675 El Camino Real.

Two more vehicles were burglarized at the Stanford Shopping Center, the last at 3:04 p.m.

In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry.

In November, burglars broke into 14 vehicles in and around the restaurant corridor on El Camino Real between Nov. 6 to Nov. 9.

Eleven cases occurred on El Camino Real near restaurants including the Fish Market Restaurant, at 3150 El Camino Real; The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse, at 4269 El Camino Real; and Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, at 2515 El Camino Real, Palo Alto Detective Sergeant Brian Philip said.

Two cases occurred at Fry's Electronics, at 340 Portage Ave., and one took place in a parking garage at 490 Cambridge Ave.

The burglars made off with electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones, Philip said. In three cases, the burglars rummaged through the cars but did not take anything.

Police advise residents and visitors to lock their unattended vehicles and close all windows, as well as take valuables with them or keep things out of sight.

Police also encourage people to call 911 to report suspicious behavior.

Anyone with information pertaining to these incidents can also call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413, send an anonymous tip by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984 or by email to paloalto@tipnow.org.

To see a map of the auto burglaries, visit UMapper.

Related content:

Palo Alto police seek window-smashing auto burglars

Comments

1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Smash and Grab reaching the suburbs. The rule is nothing visible, valuable or not, inside your vehicle.


3 people like this
Posted by Barry
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 17, 2014 at 3:36 pm

And NONE of these properties have security cameras in their parking lots?!?



3 people like this
Posted by specific targets?
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

It seems that the police's advice to lock your cars and close all windows wouldn't have made much of a difference here. In all these cases, the windows were smashed to gain entry. Some of them didn't even take anything from the car. Maybe the best approach is to leave nothing in your car and leave the door unlocked :P At least that way nothing gets stolen and your car doesn't get damaged for no reason. Just make sure your car can't be hotwired :P

It would be helpful to know if there were any specific models or types of cars that were targeted.


5 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm

And if they catch them they will back on the street in less than a day.


4 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Most of these robberies are taking place in daylight in populated areas. Are you trying to tell us that no one sees what is going on? Breaking a window is an obvious and loud effort. Why not a cell phone picture, or a call to 911 if you see it happening?

I suggest that anyone who is going to these places makes sure that there are no valuables in the car and they have their cell phones out - check out what is going on around you. Be ready to respond to anyone around you.

I was in a parking lot and there was a person lurking there. I say that because most people are moving to get where they need to be. I moved my car to a different section of the lot.

Same type issue - we were in Seattle at a tourist location and put some items in the trunk of the rental car. When we came back someone had used a crow bar and stole the items from the trunk of the rental car. Now the thorny issue was returning the rental car with a damaged back end - what a disaster. So my take on this is when putting stuff in the trunk of the car do it away - out of site from where you intend to eventually park it.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Further comment - one time we were at Golden Gate Park in SF - all the cars on the street had broken windows - we had nothing of value - it was just a malicious act.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

If you read the police blotter, in Golden Gate Park most of these smash and grabs are done by robbers on skateboards. It takes 15-30 seconds to break the window and grab the goods.


6 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2014 at 7:08 am

>> And if they catch them they will back on the street in less than a day.

This is why the 3-strikes laws are not such a bad idea. There are quite a
number of people who are never going to be productive, which is bad
enough, but survivable, like the homeless, but there are some people
destined to be perpetual nuisances that just run a cost ticker up against
the rest of us for their entire lives and run a high risk of getting involved
in things that are violent or worse.

What we need is an alternative to prison for these kinds of people, a
kind of lifelong low-budget holiday camp where if they want they can
learn a trade, do some labor and be a little productive while not ripping
off the rest of us, or having more children to continue their lifestyle.


QUESTION: I did not see it mentioned in the article ... DOES ANYONE KNOW IF THERE WAS A STYLE OR BRAND OF CAR THAT IS PREFERENTIALLY VANDALIZED IN THESE CASES ?


3 people like this
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 18, 2014 at 10:37 am

muttiallen is a registered user.

This is why I don't leave anything valuable in my car and I DON'T lock it. No broken windows that way. I learned that living in downtown Boston for 4 years. If anyone wants my religious-themed CDs they are welcome to them.


2 people like this
Posted by A resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

Three of my co-workers (in the same team!) have been hit by the same type of car burglary in the past 6 months. The incidents happened in the shopping centers in Santa Clara (Lawrence and El Camino Real) and north San Jose respectively. The burglars work in pairs, one walks in the parking lot looking for cars with valuables inside, the other drives nearby, ready to run away any minute. It only takes them 5 minutes from smashing the window, grabbing all the valuables to driving away.
Do not leave cell phones, purses, laptops or backpacks visible in any car!
If anyone spots such incident, it would be great to remember the burglar's car (especially the license plate) and report to policy asap.


1 person likes this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm

A problem with leaving a car unlocked to invite a criminal to "check it out" and see for themselves that there is nothing of value in it is: they may steal a garage door opener, personal stuff left by accident (say, a receipt with one's name on it), the car's registration (which needs to be with the car and most of us have multi drivers of a car so leave it in the glove compartment) AND the car itself may be stolen. I prefer the "barrier" of always locking my car.
Perhaps these crimes come in waves and thanks to those who gave us the alert on this one.
If anyone has any influence on shopping centers, please ask for more security, this is the holiday season and parked cars may contain gifts...


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Green Acres

on Dec 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Like this comment
Posted by My Own Fault
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2014 at 5:14 am

"Gee, it's 2014 and I think I'll leave stuff of value in my car"


Like this comment
Posted by Don't blame the victims
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2014 at 9:54 am

Thanks for the advice, but please catch the bad guys! They are getting pretty brazen!


Like this comment
Posted by Pat
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Dec 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

How else do you think theses brazen men and women are going to be able to give gifts to family members this time of year? There will be a slowdown after the holidays, but it's really never ending. Just get used to leaving nothing in your car that you really need.


Like this comment
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm

The bad guys most likely have been caught multiple times. One guy in SF had been caught 80 times. This is part of the full employment program! Keeps the cops, courts and car repair places in business.


1 person likes this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm

@Midtown, funny, I was listening to KGO radio Chip Franklin's show and he discussed how the costly parking meters in S.F. exist to keep the parking enforcement people paid and benefitted. There is some scheme whereby you can pay by phone (to keep your meter ok without having to go out and move your car) and there is a service fee, it has all become so complicated. I don't give my business to S.F. partly as a result of this type of government bureaucracy.


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

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