News

Keeble & Shuchat the victim of car-crash burglary

Two men allegedly reverse van into California Avenue photography store

Two men who allegedly broke into Keeble & Shuchat Photography on California Avenue early Thursday morning by ramming a van into the front of the store made off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and are still at large.

At about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, the police department received a call reporting a burglary in process at the company's 261 California Ave. store, which was closed at the time. Officers responded immediately, but the suspected burglars fled before they got there.

Officers found the front of the business, which has plate glass windows and glass front doors, shattered, and a metal roll-down security gate on the inside was bent. Glass display cases inside were also shattered and merchandise appeared to be missing, police said.

The ensuing investigation, which included interviews with multiple witnesses who were in the area at the time of the early morning burglary, revealed that the two men likely reversed their vehicle into the front of the store, smashing through the front glass wall, doors and interior security gate.

While no witnesses saw the actual collision, one reported hearing a loud screech followed by a loud crash, police said. When witnesses noticed what had happened, they saw the two men getting into their vehicle and driving away at a "high rate of speed" westbound on California Avenue toward El Camino Real, police said.

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Witnesses described the driver as a Hispanic male in his early- to mid-20s with a thin mustache, wearing a black and white beanie with long pull cords on each side and a black sweatshirt. Witnesses described the other suspect as a tall, thin man of unknown race wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and dark shoes.

Witnesses described their vehicle as an older red minivan with dark tinted windows. The rear license plate of the van was covered with black plastic.

Police said there is no video surveillance footage available for release, and no sketches of the suspects are able to be produced.

Keeble & Shuchat employees are still compiling a list of stolen merchandise and owner Terry Shuchat said he's not sure yet what the loss will be, though police said initial indications put the loss at tens of thousands of dollars.

Employees cleaning up the store on Thursday afternoon said the cost incurred by damage to the building far exceeds that of the stolen merchandise.

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"We're still tallying things up," Shuchat said. "A lot of stuff was destroyed. They drove a car into a store."

Detectives are looking into the possibility that this crime may have been committed by the same men who burglarized a closed Mountain View business, Audio High, at 165 Moffett Boulevard in the early-morning hours of Feb. 9. The vehicle in that case was similar. For more information on that case and to view surveillance video footage of the suspects and vehicle, watch this Mountain View Police Department YouTube video.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Keeble & Shuchat the victim of car-crash burglary

Two men allegedly reverse van into California Avenue photography store

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Feb 19, 2015, 1:40 pm
Updated: Fri, Feb 20, 2015, 8:52 am

Two men who allegedly broke into Keeble & Shuchat Photography on California Avenue early Thursday morning by ramming a van into the front of the store made off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and are still at large.

At about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, the police department received a call reporting a burglary in process at the company's 261 California Ave. store, which was closed at the time. Officers responded immediately, but the suspected burglars fled before they got there.

Officers found the front of the business, which has plate glass windows and glass front doors, shattered, and a metal roll-down security gate on the inside was bent. Glass display cases inside were also shattered and merchandise appeared to be missing, police said.

The ensuing investigation, which included interviews with multiple witnesses who were in the area at the time of the early morning burglary, revealed that the two men likely reversed their vehicle into the front of the store, smashing through the front glass wall, doors and interior security gate.

While no witnesses saw the actual collision, one reported hearing a loud screech followed by a loud crash, police said. When witnesses noticed what had happened, they saw the two men getting into their vehicle and driving away at a "high rate of speed" westbound on California Avenue toward El Camino Real, police said.

Witnesses described the driver as a Hispanic male in his early- to mid-20s with a thin mustache, wearing a black and white beanie with long pull cords on each side and a black sweatshirt. Witnesses described the other suspect as a tall, thin man of unknown race wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and dark shoes.

Witnesses described their vehicle as an older red minivan with dark tinted windows. The rear license plate of the van was covered with black plastic.

Police said there is no video surveillance footage available for release, and no sketches of the suspects are able to be produced.

Keeble & Shuchat employees are still compiling a list of stolen merchandise and owner Terry Shuchat said he's not sure yet what the loss will be, though police said initial indications put the loss at tens of thousands of dollars.

Employees cleaning up the store on Thursday afternoon said the cost incurred by damage to the building far exceeds that of the stolen merchandise.

"We're still tallying things up," Shuchat said. "A lot of stuff was destroyed. They drove a car into a store."

Detectives are looking into the possibility that this crime may have been committed by the same men who burglarized a closed Mountain View business, Audio High, at 165 Moffett Boulevard in the early-morning hours of Feb. 9. The vehicle in that case was similar. For more information on that case and to view surveillance video footage of the suspects and vehicle, watch this Mountain View Police Department YouTube video.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Comments

I wonder
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm
I wonder, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm

I am so sorry to see this happen to K&S, it feels like a friend's home was hit.

I hate to say this, but I wish one of the things the building department did was keep a registry of contractors and subcontractors and where they work when. I'm not saying that was necessarily the case here, but construction does seem to go hand in hand with an increased level of crime in the immediate area. It wouldn't by itself mean anything, but patterns might be helpful to police, and would provide the public some measure of transparency. If handled right, it could also double as, frankly, an advertising tool for companies (because mostly there WON'T be crimes and people could see who is doing all the best work around town at the same time).


Why-No-Surveillance-Cameras
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm
Why-No-Surveillance-Cameras, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

> Police said there is no video surveillance footage available for release

Astounding that companies on California Ave. have not gotten together and purchased surveillance equipment so that there might be something for the police to work with when robberies happen.

The Police Department's lame adage: "Lock it or loose it .." doesn't seem to go every far, does it?

Good luck catching these guys.


more problems
Evergreen Park
on Feb 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm
more problems, Evergreen Park
on Feb 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm

With all of the people running to Palo Alto and the city trying to ACCOMENDATE everyone, we're going to see more Big City problems like this. The crime rate has gone up and up.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 19, 2015 at 3:19 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 19, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Good detailed report.

I wonder has a point about construction and crime. Today I was curious about where exactly on Middlefield the 3300 block was since they had 2 car burglaries at around 9AM on a weekday which seemed odd.

I looked it up and it's near Philz and which is right next to the new construction at the old Pommard Deli/Fandango Pizza.


resident
Midtown
on Feb 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm
resident, Midtown
on Feb 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Surprising that a camera store does not have enough faith in surveillance cameras to use them.

Realistically, how easy is it to fence high-end camera gear? All that stuff has serial numbers, doesn't it? Do EBay buyers not check, or not care if the gear they buy is stolen?


Sparty
Registered user
another community
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm
Sparty, another community
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm

I wonder if they took mostly the printers and video gear. Doesn't sound like they stuck around long. And unless they knew exactly what they were looking for there were only a few of the used cameras worth a lot of money.

However they do record take really careful records of most things they buy (used gear)


resident
Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm
resident, Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm

More problems - you are right. The city wants to turn Palo Alto into a big city for everyone and along with that comes the crime.


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm

License plate readers at the entry/exit points of the city would help..


neighbor
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:49 pm
neighbor, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2015 at 4:49 pm

This kind of crime is happening in lots of big cities and also some smaller ones - I think even in Walnut Creek, for example. I think it's roving gangs who sweep through an area so other local merchants should also be careful.


eric
another community
on Feb 19, 2015 at 6:40 pm
eric, another community
on Feb 19, 2015 at 6:40 pm
Lori Duvall
another community
on Feb 19, 2015 at 7:56 pm
Lori Duvall, another community
on Feb 19, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Terrible! So sorry to hear this. Hope K&S quickly recovers and the perp caught.


resident
Midtown
on Feb 19, 2015 at 9:05 pm
resident, Midtown
on Feb 19, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Any chance to see the list of stolen property, so we can be on the lookout for suspicious items for sale?


Jay Park
Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:01 pm
Jay Park, Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:01 pm

A lot of stolen merchandise ends up overseas and many buyers (regardless of location) don't mind looking the other way. $10K Leica for $1500? "Sure, I have the cash right here," no questions asked.

The stolen items are not going to show up on eBay with the serial numbers posted unless the burglars are seriously stupid. But if they were, they probably would have been caught many times over.

Remember, a thief can offer an item for sale, but if a potential buyer is suspicious ("where did this come from," "why is it so cheap"), the thief can always reply, "sorry, it has already been sold."

People have been doing this from the beginning of human history, starting with the very first piece of art. "Oh, something I created is worth something, maybe I can knock off another one, the second buyer won't know this is a dupe."

Or, "we stole this great thing, but we can make more by selling it on the cheap rather than sticking it in a vault where it generates no revenue."

Or, "there only a finite amount of great relics, but if I manufacture perfect copies, no one will know that they're not getting the same One True Holy Shin Bone of Whatever Saint that a hundred other people acquired, despite the fact that saints only have two shin bones."

The fenceability value of a given stolen object can be controlled by the thief's understanding of the customer base.


Sparty
Registered user
another community
on Feb 20, 2015 at 2:37 am
Sparty, another community
Registered user
on Feb 20, 2015 at 2:37 am

Terry S already said the damage to the doors and gate was more than what was stolen.


Bill Rayburn
College Terrace
on Feb 20, 2015 at 3:11 am
Bill Rayburn, College Terrace
on Feb 20, 2015 at 3:11 am

Keeble and Shuchat with no video surveillance....really? Cruel irony?


musical
Palo Verde
on Feb 20, 2015 at 3:21 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Feb 20, 2015 at 3:21 am

Like the recent Wells Fargo museum gold heist in San Francisco. Damage exceeded meltdown value. And the van through the Patagonia store near Fisherman’s Wharf a week earlier. We have one notable glass-fronted merchandiser on University Avenue which has been proactive in placing bollards out front -- or was that dictated by the City?


Sparty
Registered user
another community
on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:50 am
Sparty, another community
Registered user
on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:50 am

>University Avenue which has been proactive in placing bollards out front -- or was that dictated by the City?

I'm guessing they were allowed to because of who they are...


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:50 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:50 am

Town & Country has had the bollards for years because there were a few car accidents where people mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brakes and went through a store window or two.

I'm guessing the City Planners for the costly "redesign" of Cal Ave didn't even think of requiring them.


Jonathan Brown
Ventura
on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:55 am
Jonathan Brown, Ventura
on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:55 am

Mr. Recycle
>>License plate readers at the entry/exit points of the city would help.
Apparently not in this case:
"The rear license plate of the van was covered with black plastic."
What would help is people stepping forward to turn these people in. We're all int this together.


Online News
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 20, 2015 at 11:02 am
Online News, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 20, 2015 at 11:02 am

Evidently there was a surveillance video, according to the Daily News, but police chose not to release it.

That's how they knew the vehicle was similar to the one used when robbing the Mountain View hifi store.


musical
Palo Verde
on Feb 20, 2015 at 11:58 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Feb 20, 2015 at 11:58 am

There are multiple video cameras at every signalized intesection on Page Mill, Oregon, El Camino, Alma, Foothill Expressway and many other arterials, not sufficient resolution for license plates, but adequate for tracking a vehicle. However, the images are not recorded as far as I know. Apparently just there for realtime traffic jam monitoring.


Late Sleeper
College Terrace
on Feb 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm
Late Sleeper, College Terrace
on Feb 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Wow, multiple witnesses at 4:30 am??? It's still a midnight for me at that time ...


Response to I Wonder
another community
on Feb 20, 2015 at 1:43 pm
Response to I Wonder, another community
on Feb 20, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Response to I Wonder

"I hate to say this, but I wish one of the things the building department did was keep a registry of contractors and subcontractors and where they work when. I'm not saying that was necessarily the case here, but construction does seem to go hand in hand with an increased level of crime in the immediate area."

I Wonder, I think you have made an excellent suggestion.

* * *

Here are my and my Mom's not-so-fortunate experiences with home contractors and home caregivers since 2000:

In 2005, my Mom hired contractors to install a new patio in her backyard. When she offered lemonade to the contractors, a physically big employee gave her a stink eye. Shortly thereafter, she left to go to a movie. Hours later, she returned, to find big muddy footprints on the floor of the room that adjoined the outside patio area. Her house was ransacked and what few valuables she had were stolen. This was the first time anything inside her house was stolen.

My Mom had apparently failed to lock the sliding glass door that separated the house from the patio. The Mountain View police came and took a report and they blamed the theft upon "local gang members". The police never bothered to interview the contractors.

In 2000, my Mom hired new gardeners after her previous gardeners left. At around that time, the gold coins that my parents had buried in their backyard for over 30 years went missing. Mom's gardeners often dug around in the backyard over the years. I will never know which set of gardeners stole the coins.

More recently, a caregiver whom I had hired through well-known agencies stole small items from my parents' home. The agencies apparently vet their employees and most caregivers they sent to us were fine. But there will always be the one bully who knows how to play people and who is attracted to positions in which they have power over others.

Please consider safekeeping your valuables in some place other than in or around your home. I wish my parents had done so.


Sparty
Registered user
another community
on Feb 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm
Sparty, another community
Registered user
on Feb 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Did everyone forget that Kinkos next door was open.

Some pretty funny bloviating and speculation though.

People are out at 430am.... Like Kinko's Fed Ex workers..

people delivering newspapers....

garbage trucks....

Just because they smashed out the doors and damaged the rolling gate...doesn't mean free reign. It's hard to squeeeeze through a gate and over counters...doesn't leave much time.

And if you're clumsy you drop stuff


jack meoff2
Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 22, 2015 at 10:20 am
jack meoff2, Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 22, 2015 at 10:20 am
Photographer
Charleston Meadows
on Feb 24, 2015 at 9:23 pm
Photographer, Charleston Meadows
on Feb 24, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Sorry to hear. Hope the shop bounces right back. They are great.


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