Two separate 'Goldilocks' intruders are the subject of manhunt, arrest


A burglar who found a bed in a Palo Alto residence "just right" for sleeping in became the target of an all-out search by Palo Alto police on Dec. 30.

In a separate incident, officers arrested a man sleeping in a child's playhouse at another home on Dec. 31, police said.

The first "Goldilocks" intruder was discovered asleep in a bedroom on the 200 block of Middlefield Road by a house-sitter, police Agent Marianna Villaescusa said.

The sitter found the man upon entering the home, which was his daughter's. The house-sitter and the man had a five-minute conversation before the intruder fled. The house-sitter then called police at 9:02 p.m., police said.

Officers found a box with items from the residence they think the burglar planned to steal. The burglar had entered the home by breaking a window at the rear of the residence. The man is described as a white male in his 20s with a goatee. He wore bluish-green sweatpants and a possible white T-shirt.

In a separate incident on Dec. 31, residents at a home in the 600 block of Everett Avenue -- just blocks from the Dec. 30 incident -- called police at 9 a.m. regarding a suspicious circumstance. Police found a man sleeping in a child's playhouse. They arrested Jason Heinz, 26, of San Pablo. Heinz was booked in Santa Clara County Jail for being under the influence of a controlled substance and for prowling, Sgt. Craig Lee said.

Detectives are still investigating whether the two cases are linked, Lt. Zach Perron said.

In the Middlefield Road incident, Palo Alto police searched for the burglar using multiple methods, but they could not locate him. They set up a perimeter from Palo Alto and Woodland avenues to University Avenue and searched an area that included Hawthorne Avenue, Middlefield, Byron, Guinda and Chaucer streets, according to radio dispatches.

Police brought in K-9 units to pick up the man's trail and used night-vision goggles and hand-held heat sensors. They requested a California Highway Patrol helicopter, but high winds prevented the chopper from takeoff, according to radio dispatches.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

For more about how police search for suspects, read an interview with Ken Dueker, Palo Alto Office of Emergency Services director.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm

The article says that the two incidents were "just blocks" apart. There are only three houses between the locations of the two incidents. The man who was in the playhouse also was wearing green pajama-like pants and a white t-shirt.

1 person likes this
Posted by Jimmie
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm

What, they didn't bring out the drones?

Like this comment
Posted by Midtown resident 55 years
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2015 at 12:51 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Charlie
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 5, 2015 at 3:04 pm

I wonder what the 5-minute conversation was about. I remember waking up in a small German hotel one night to find an intruder in the room with me, who had somehow made his way up and into a window on my second-floor room. I got up, somehow turned the light on, and we cagily "danced" around each other. I didn't know if he had a weapon on him and he didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know if he'd stolen money from me. I finally let him escape out the window. No, he didn't get any money from me. I only had a couple bucks anyway. When I told the hotel management about it, they claimed it couldn't've happened.

5 people like this
Posted by Ed Explorer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Language is critical! When you write cutesy descriptions of crimes such as "Goldilocks intruders," you are diminishing the impact of the crime. It is a break-in home-invasion with the intention to steal and perhaps, consequently, an attempted or actual murder, too. A drug-addled guy who is interrupted in his crime could lash out and kill the person who discovers him!! It is certainly not a joke in any case. I also see articles here that confuse "burglary" with "home-invasion." A burglary means someone breaks into a dwelling when nobody is home, whereas a home-invasion means there is someone at home. In my opinion, breaking into any dwelling is very serious but if someone should be inside that dwelling it automatically becomes a life-threatening crime. If that intruder has any kind of weapon--a crowbar, a knife, screwdriver, hammer, or some kind of firearm--the hapless resident/victim may suddenly confront a life-or-death situation! Reporters and headline-writers: please choose your words carefully! They carry a lot of power to influence how everyone perceives the crime you are reporting!
Thank You,
Ed Explorer, Menlo Park

1 person likes this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Burglary is theft by breaking and entering; it doesn't matter if anybody is home. Heard of cat burglars? Plot of many movies where the stealthy diamond thief enters by a high up window, not waking the occupants. And, I kind of like the goldilocks spin on the story.

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

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Rose International Market reopening soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 4,548 views

The trauma of having to renew my California driver’s license
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 1,856 views

Eyes and the End of Life: Why Spend Time With the Dying?
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 1,705 views

Downtown Commercial Cap: Once more into the breach
By Douglas Moran | 4 comments | 1,503 views

Can Americans Be Green?
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 1,330 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details