A man who allegedly used a bright blue bike as part of short crime spree in south Palo Alto on Thursday evening was arrested later in the day while sitting on bus bench.
Police said Brandon Robert Yamagata, 30, was booked Thursday night on an assortment of charges related to a string on incidents that began at SummerWinds Nursery at 725 San Antonio Road. According to police, Yamagata stopped by the nursery shortly before 6 p.m., around closing time, and told an employee, a woman in her 60s, that he needs to use the restroom. Shortly after she let him in, the employee spotted the man in the nursery's office, holding a computer tower. He immediately ran away with the equipment and rode off on a bright blue bicycle, police said.
Minutes after the incident, police received a call about a residential burglary that was interrupted in the 100 block of Greenmeadow Way. Police said the woman in the home heard noises in her bedroom and walked in to see a man she didn't know. She yelled at the man and he allegedly ran away. According to the police, a neighbor heard the woman yell at the stranger and went outside to help. The neighbor saw the man riding away on a blue bike and took a photo with his cell phone.
While officers were unable to find the suspect immediately after the respective incidents, at about 8:30 p.m., an an officer saw someone matching the description at a bus stop on the 4200 block of El Camino Real, police said. While the officer detained the man, another officer found the blue bicycle in a nearby area, according to a police news release. Police later learned that the man, later identified as Yamagata, had allegedly gone to another home in the area, on Sutherland Drive, and hid the computer tower there. The equipment, which has estimated cost of about $450, was recovered from the yard.
Yamagata was booked in the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony residential burglary, felony commercial burglary, misdemeanor prowling (for going into the yard of the Sutherland Drive home) and misdemeanor concealing evidence of a crime. He is also facing a charge of committing a felony while on bail for another felony -- a vehicle theft charge that is currently pending in Santa Clara County, according to the police.
Yamagata was the second man arrested for a residential burglary in the span of less than 10 hours on Thursday. On Thursday morning, Palo Alto police arrested 19-year-old Daniel Marteese Williams, who allegedly tried to burglarize a home on Edgewood Drive before fleeing to East Palo Alto, where he was caught hiding under a mobile home. Police said there are no known connections between the two burglary suspects.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the department's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.