News

Burglars hit Keeble & Shuchat by breaking through wall

Palo Alto camera store owner: 'It was a huge take'

Burglars broke through layers of plaster, plywood, sheetrock and a display case to get inside Keeble & Shuchat Photography in Palo Alto over the weekend, making off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, according to store owner Terry Shuchat.

The break-in at the longtime business, which is set to close in October after 51 years at that location, was reported at 7 a.m. Sunday by a passerby, police Sgt. Wayne Benitez said. The burglary, he said, took place some time between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

The suspects used power tools to make a hole in the wall of the camera store, located at 261 California Ave., next to an alleyway, said Benitez, adding that although the power tools would have been loud, no one saw or heard anything.

"With the amount of work it had to take, it would have to be more than one person involved," Benitez said.

After getting inside the store, the thieves cleared several cases and wall displays of cameras and camera lens, Shuchat said.

The incident took place in "an area where we only have used stuff," he said.

"It was a huge take. We're still coming up with a list. We don't know exactly how much stuff was taken, but it was a huge amount of stuff," Shuchat said.

Store employees were going through inventory Monday to determine what was stolen, Benitez said. Initial indications put the loss at tens of thousands of dollars, he added.

The hole in the wall has been temporarily boarded up, said Shuchat, adding that a contractor is coming out soon to patch it up.

Although the store is equipped with an alarm system, the burglars did not set it off, Benitez and Shuchat said.

They were able to move around in the area behind the glass cases undetected by the motion sensor, Shuchat said.

A saw blade and other tools were left at the scene, which will be processed for DNA evidence, Benitez said.

"I told police, 'I can't believe it. They've come in every way except for the roof,'" Shuchat said Monday.

In February 2015, two men broke into the shop by ramming a van into the front of the store. They made off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, police said at that time.

Police were able to apprehend two people in that incident, Shuchat said Monday.

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 paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Shifting eyes left to right and back
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 26, 2016 at 3:06 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by foo
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Sounds like an inside job to me. Takes a good amount of planning and research to find a weak spot in the wall that you can cut a big hole through. Just happens that no surveillance cameras were pointed in that direction either from either side of the wall, right?


13 people like this
Posted by Released
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Just a minor property crime. If they are caught they will be released Thanks Jerry. No vacancy in prison with 3 square meals, weights, and the Playboy Channel.


9 people like this
Posted by Hank
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Does sound like a inside job. These days, is camera equipment easy to sell on the black market? Is there a big market for them? Check eBay and Craig's List in a month.


27 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm

@foo, if this was an inside job, I imagine an employee would have copied the key to the back door instead of making a mess with power tools. Also, they'd have gone to the safe in the stockroom to get the really valuable merchandise. So as it is, I suspect the thief was an outsider who cased the place, perhaps while pretending to be a customer.


34 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2016 at 7:35 pm

I doubt this was an inside job.

If it were, the burglars would have targeted brand new high-end merchandise, not used gear. Why steal a $250 used Canon when you can steal a $22,000 new Leica?


1 person likes this
Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2016 at 11:04 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by speculator
a resident of University South
on Sep 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm

The only way they'll be able to get rid of the used equipment is on the auction sites. I'm sure PAPD is watching ebay for postings, if the buglers are that stupid. You never know.


26 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 11:54 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

Please stop with the victim blaming. This isn;t the first time these poor shop owners have been targeted. Remember the thieves who rammed a van through teh front of their shop last year?

Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by Anciana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:32 am

Oh Terry, I'm so sorry. That's awful!

Sue Kemp


11 people like this
Posted by Tony B.
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:34 am

It's hard to believe the burglars didn't attract attention, given the noise the power tools would have made. Most likely break-in time would have been after restaurants / bars closed, likely between 3.00am-6.00am. Thieves are brazen, not intellectual giants, hence, they only made-off with used camera gear. Quickly in-and-out, with a look-out to advise if anyone should stumble-on to the burglary in-progress. Hope there is enough DNA on the abandoned power tools to affect an arrest, or CCTV footage on California Avenue to provide a lead to a possible getaway vehicle. No shop-owner deserves to arrive at his business to find he/she has been violated, as staying in business and trying to make a go of it is difficult enough, to say the least!


3 people like this
Posted by :(
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

How unfortunate and ironic that there were no surveillance cameras at a camera shop. The burglars likely wanted to hit it before closing day. And how can anyone crawl through that small space? That's most puzzling to me.


15 people like this
Posted by nieghbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:56 am

My condolences. Small business owners are an important part of our neighborhoods and communities, doing all of us a
favor with their time, energy and excellent service. It's just heartbreaking. I really hope the perpetrators are caught. And I'm sure our law enforcement will do the best job possible in bringing justice if they are identified.


7 people like this
Posted by Surveillance
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 27, 2016 at 11:00 am

@:(
Surveillance cameras aren't that useful if the crooks wear hoodies and cover their faces. The fact that they did this without setting off the motion detectors tells you they weren't amateurs.


7 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 27, 2016 at 12:36 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

I feel bad for the owner. Speculation and/or blame-storming aside, this is another blow for a store on its way out, in itself a significantly sad event. I'm sorry, Mr. Shuchat.


48 people like this
Posted by Mark Chandler
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm

I am sure this was deeply dispiriting for Terry, who has provided such amazing service to the community in so many ways, from great products and services, to sponsorship of community activities, to leadership in the Cal Ave business community which I well remember when I was on the Planning Commission 30 years ago. The decision to close the business, however much we see the technological and economic forces at work, I'm sure has been personally difficult, Beyond that, it's hard to no longer offer a livelihood for loyal employees. Those who have not been burglarized like this don't know how the dispiriting sense of violation. Most troubling about the comments though is the cynicism and suspicion about an inside job that is the antithesis of a community rallying around a member who has been hurt. Now's the time to say thank you for a half century of enriching the community life of Palo Alto.


7 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

@Mark Chandler, you said it far more completely and eloquently than I did. Thank you.


2 people like this
Posted by Cid Young
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Those thieves were none to aware of the values. Used cameras and lenses implies they took older film based equipment. (Assuming little resale value) I strongly doubt an insider would have hung out grabbing stuff from the Used Section,


9 people like this
Posted by Menlocat
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 27, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I am so sorry. I am sad enough that the store is closing. Now this. My condolences to everyone at the store.


5 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 27, 2016 at 5:15 pm

This is so sad! I'm sorry for the owner & employees. I've been a customer since the days of Keeble & Lohman, when John Lohman helped me with my first camera.
Is there no PAPD patrol in the wee hours? I wish we had security cameras everywhere.
Calling this an "inside job" is insulting to the long time employees of this business!


2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 27, 2016 at 6:31 pm

I am So sorry to hear about the break in and stolen property! Also very sorry to hear Keeble & Shuchat is closing! I hope the criminals are apprehended and prosecuted, and the property recovered.


Like this comment
Posted by Jay Castle
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 27, 2016 at 7:48 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by GIP GIP GIP
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 28, 2016 at 9:12 am

I find it interested that after the last break in, no alarms/motion sensors were installed to prevent further theft, especially when you're selling high end cameras worth thousands of dollars...was it frugalness or just plain stupidity.


1 person likes this
Posted by Raj
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm

I am curious, how do people know only the second hand rental stuff was stolen? This store has lot of expensive new equipment too, I can imagine. Did I miss it in the news report above? Thanks.


2 people like this
Posted by carlitos waysman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 28, 2016 at 9:14 pm

Inside job most likely. Probably the culprits fled to San Francisco because of its sanctuary city status.


2 people like this
Posted by Bob LeClair
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2016 at 10:35 am

Kamera Korner in SJ in 2007 got hit in similar fashion. Lost $30k+ of used equipment and nothing turned up. The new alarm sensor was "misaligned" by the installer and didn't spot the thieves, so they had lots of time to clean us out of all our best expensive used equipment. We never really recovered from that and closed early 2010. Sorry to hear K&S is closing; specialty shops like K&S and KK are always missed after they have closed.


Like this comment
Posted by Raj
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2016 at 3:36 pm

@Bob LeClair,

Sorry to know about Kamera Korner closing in this way in 2010.

You are so right: specialty shops are missed after they are closed.


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a resident of Ventura

on Aug 20, 2017 at 1:24 am

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a resident of Nixon School

on Aug 27, 2017 at 4:48 am

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