Man arrested for attempted burglary on Carlson Court

Police: Case not connected to two prowling incidents reported earlier this month

Palo Alto police have arrested a local man who they believe tried to burglarize a home in the Fairmeadow neighborhood while the homeowner was sleeping Tuesday afternoon.

Derek Darnell Pitts, 44, was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail on Tuesday shortly after police received a call from a resident about a man prowling in her backyard.

The man reportedly knocked on the woman's door on the 3800 block of Carlson Court while she was napping with her sleeping toddler. The woman, who is in her 30s, allegedly woke up and saw the man at her front porch but did not open the door because she did not recognize him.

The woman then reportedly watched as the man tried to open her front door and then went to the side yard and backyard to check for unlocked doors. After seeing him trying to open two doors into her home from the backyard, she immediately called the police and described the suspect, police said. He did not succeed in entering the home, police said.

Shortly after the call, officers stopped a man who matched the description on Alma Street and East Charleston Drive. The man, later identified as Pitts, was booked on one felony count of attempted residential burglary.

Palo Alto police do not believe Pitts is connected to the two cases of nighttime prowling that were reported earlier this month. The first of these occurred on July 8 in the 1000 block of Moffett Circle, while the second took place on July 14 on the 200 block of Emerson Street. The descriptions of the suspects in those cases were markedly different from the one in the Tuesday incident.

Police said the Tuesday incident highlights a common method used by residential burglars. First, they ring the doorbell to see if someone is home. If someone answers, they pose as solicitors or supposedly looking for someone who does not live there. If they receive no answer, burglars often look for access to the backyard and then try to break into the home unnoticed by passersby, police said.

Police encourage residents to speak through their doors to ask who is there or to indicate in some other way that someone is home.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department's 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.

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11 people like this
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

Good job PAPD!
Let's hope we can get him off the streets for a while.

14 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Way to go, PAPD!

This man -- like all burglars, thieves, robbers and violent criminals -- should be humiliated and make restitution to society. Society should be warned about them for about seven years (for non-violent offenses). If they don't commit a crime again and make restitution during that period of atonement, they can have their slate cleaned (and not be work prohibitive).

Maybe something like this would help men from becoming perpetual thieves. Maybe embarrassment would encourage people to become civilized members of society?

6 people like this
Posted by SuperD
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Crook gets caught again - google his name and you will see that he was arrested a few years back for using a stolen credit card to try and buy a BART ticket. Glad they caught him.

8 people like this
Posted by duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2015 at 4:11 pm

The mom's actions are those that everyone should adopt.Good job, Mom!

Like this comment
Posted by Harriet
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2015 at 5:48 pm

About that time I would have a Pit bull ready to attack.

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

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