Spate of auto burglaries hits downtown Palo Alto


Police are investigating nine vehicle break-ins that occurred Tuesday night, March 3, in Palo Alto.

The auto burglaries happened between 6 and 10 p.m., and most were reported in the downtown area. Three of the break-ins occurred on the upper floors of City Parking Garage R, at 528 High St., and four took place in the downtown area on Webster Street, Hamilton Avenue, University Avenue and Lytton Avenue, police said. The other two auto burglaries occurred on El Camino Real.

In each incident, the burglars smashed the car windows to gain entry. Thieves took backpacks, bags or briefcases left inside the vehicles in plain view, police said. Electronic devices, including laptops and tablet computers were stolen in eight of the break-ins.

Although police do not believe the suspects targeted any particular make or model of car, seven of the nine vehicles targeted were rental cars, police said. There have been 65 auto burglaries reported in Palo Alto this year, police said.

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.

In response to the spate of auto burglaries, uniformed officers are increasing their patrols, and plainclothes detectives are also out looking for the suspects, police said.

Anyone with information pertaining to these incidents 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.

Related content:

Rash of auto burglaries hits Palo Alto

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

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Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 5, 2015 at 10:47 am

Are rental cars easily identifiable? Bumper stickers or license plate holders that call out to thieves?

7 people like this
Posted by Julianna
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:06 am

Aren't there cameras in all the parking garages? If not, there should be--on all levels.

12 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:09 am

How about putting security cameras in the garages and parking lots?

Given the frequency with which thieves were targeting The Fish Market, I've always been amazed they never put in cameras or hired a guard.

Cameras would seem to be more important in garages and parking lots than spending $3,000,000 on video surveillance cameras at red lights.

4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:27 am

Great. With cameras we'd know it was somebody in a dark hoodie.

8 people like this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm

> With cameras we'd know it was somebody in a dark hoodie.

There is no reason that well-placed video cameras could not provide better photos than the over-the-shoulder-hoodie-shot that too often seems to be the only value of older surveillance cameras.

Also adding surveillance cameras on the street and all pedestrian entrances could provide the license plate numbers of the cars used by the perps.

It is a scandal that the City of Palo Alto has done nothing to provide state-of-the-art security or the parking garages.

6 people like this
Posted by anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:38 pm

At the moment, our downtown garages are not safe, and that adds to the parking problems in the surrounding neighborhoods.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the garages should be safe, well lit, economically priced and filled.

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

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