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Palo Alto police seek man involved in burglary spree

Police say man broke into businesses, took money from registers

Two gas stations, a dry cleaners and an ice cream shop were burglarized over the past 10 days by a hooded man who, in each case, broke into the businesses overnight and took money from the cash register, according to Palo Alto police.

The man -- who police describe in a news release as an adult of average height and build with a hooded sweatshirt and long pants -- allegedly began his burglary spree at the Shell gas station at 3601 El Camino Real. The burglary was discovered in the early hours of May 30, police said. The suspect allegedly used a rock to break a window, went inside and took money from the register.

The second burglary, which was discovered in the morning of May 31, also involved a gas station: the Valero station at El Camino Real and Stanford Avenue. Police said the man used his car to push a hole through the service bay door, walked into the business and raided the register.

On the same morning, police also learned that another business close to the Valero station was burglarized: Norge Village Cleaners at 240 California Ave. The man allegedly used a rock to break the glass door and, once again, made off with some cash from the register.

The fourth case took place at Baskin Robbins on Middlefield Road. On June 7, police learned that someone used a rock to break the glass front door and take cash.

Police obtained surveillance footage from both the Valero station and Norge Village Cleaners showing the suspect driving a white Dodge Caravan. They have released a surveillance photo of the vehicle from the Valero burglary.

Detectives are investigating the four cases and are trying to determine whether the same man is responsible for any similar burglaries in nearby cities, police said.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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