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Man arrested after housecleaner interrupts burglary

Original post made on Nov 13, 2012

A Palo Alto resident, alerted by his housecleaner, came home to find a man allegedly trying to steal his vehicle Monday afternoon, Nov. 12. Police then arrested the man, Axel Morales of Palo Alto, on several charges, including residential burglary and attempted vehicle theft, police announced Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 9:59 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Palo Alto High School, class of 2010

Posted by lol
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm

works at walgreens :(

Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 14, 2012 at 8:16 am

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

I am really saddened to read this about a Paly grad.

But, then again, thanx to the housekeeper, the guy was caught bfore he could do more harm.

Posted by Michael Sopkin
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 14, 2012 at 8:44 am

Michael Sopkin is a registered user.

i went to high school with that kid, sad to see him go to jail. but what comes around goes around

Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

iSez is a registered user.

Eh, the idiom is "What goes around comes around." So I guess the kid wasn't an angel at school either. . .

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

To a comment above, there is no disgrace in working at Walgreen's. Not everyone can go to an ivy league school, or college at all. The true disgrace is his crime.

Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2012 at 3:12 am

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I took that comment to mean sad for Walgreens, not sad for Axel. Who knows...

Posted by frustrated mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 15, 2012 at 7:36 am

frustrated mom is a registered user.

To Michael Sopkin,
I believe that you did not just went to school with "that kid", but in fact you are his friend on Facebook. I am wondering why would you write "what goes around comes around" Did you notice that because of your comment Mr, or Mrs iSes, now has a completely different opinion about who Axel is? Please make sure that you are clear when you post. Just so you know, Axel and my kid play soccer during middle and high school, I gave him a lot of rides to the games, and I was able to observe his behavior many times. He might have changed now or I do not know how he got into this mess, but when he was a PAUSD student he tried his best, and tried really hard to fit in. Axel is a product of our great schools. He was a Latino, some special needs, and was not given the right services to help him succeed. He was bullied because of his disability and size. He did enrolled in community college, but when students get there if they are not well prepared they do not make it. PAUSD needs to do a better job with our minority students so they do not just finish high school.

Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

iSez is a registered user.

Frustrated Mom: Due to your posting, I went to Axel's Facebook page. Clearly, he is not an idiot. It seems he made a bad decision in turning to crime. But in defense of PAUSD, they cannot be blamed for his poor judgement. His parents failed. They should have fought for his special needs issues, they should have provided a nurturing home life filled with love. And students who typically attend community college are not necessarily prepared for college. Latinos qualify for affirmative action so their grades and test scores do not need to be as high as other applicants'. However, college is not for everyone. Still, he would not have entered crime if his parents cared about him. Sad. They could have at least shown him episodes of Lock-Up (!).

Posted by Spectator at Large
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm

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iSez: What makes you think that Axel's parents didn't care about him? How do you know that his parents did not provide a nurturing home filled with love? I think it is rather presumptuous to speculate on what went on in Axel's home. It is sad that he got into burglary though. Lots of young people unfortunately get into drugs and must turn to crime to support their habits. It is not necessarily the parents fault that a child becomes an addict. I don't want to speculate on what Axel's issues are but I might venture a guess that he could have needed money to support a habit. Not just Latino kids with special needs get addicted and have to turn to crime. Hopefully this young man can make a useful life for himself after he pays the price for this crime.

Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm

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Spectator: Don't be naive; it's not presumptuous at all. Nurturing parents who respect their children and give them a lot of attention have children who want to please their parents because they have been treated well. Don't confuse this with parents who allow their children to run wild and don't set boundaries for them. The right amount of freedom and trust is necessary but children also need boundaries so they feel cared for.

Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm

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This is a good opportunity for using Restorative Justice to work with this young man to figure out what his needs are, what the community can do to help him, and to ensure he has the support needed to prevent his career chances moving down the wrong track.

Posted by Spectator at large
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

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iSez: How are you able to discuss what kind of home this young man came from? I also know of some kids who were seemingly showered with everything (and with limits as well) and turned out "bad". Of course this will never happen to you, right? You must be the world's best parent!

I am wondering why you are making all these assumptions about this young man's upbringing. Do you have some special "insider" knowledge of Axel's family? If so, it is probably not a good idea to talk about them in this forum anyway. They have enough to worry about without someone making judgments about their parenting skills. I think it is the kind and respectful thing to do to not trash them here.

Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm

iSez is a registered user.

@Spectator: Re your statement, "I also know of some kids who were seemingly showered with everything (and with limits as well) and turned out 'bad'." The KEY word here is "seemingly". We don't know WHAT goes on inside other households - we only see the outcome.

It's not "kind and respectful to trash" PAUSD either as another poster did. Most Paly teachers sincerely care about students.

I am not the perfect parent, but I do know this instinctively: Children need to feel loved by their parents. I'm not talking about materialism and buying love - that doesn't work. I'm not talking about what the outside sees - that the parents SEEM like nice people. Parents need to spend time with their children, do things for them, find out how their school life is, take them out for family dinners, make opportunities for them to succeed and praise when necessary. A dose of independence needs to be there too (to show you trust your children). Parenting doesn't end when children can take care of themselves; children still need emotional support, and especially in an academically rigorous city. The disciplinarian approach is not successful for most children, nor is laissez-faire parenting. Sure, we do have our arguments with the kids, them occasionally challenging us, but they know we love them and they love us.

As a quiz for parents: Do your children care about you? Do they care when you are sick and ask if you need anything? Do they share their feelings with you? Do they call you if they are out later than expected? Do they say nice things to you?

Answers of "no" means the parent has failed. But it's not all down the tubes. Remember them when they were helpless babies and you wanted to cuddle them. Children always want attention from their parents and it's never to late to let them know you care. Appreciate them - don't bend them like a Bonsai plant.

Years ago, when our children were in elementary school, we were eating dinner at a restaurant on a trip and the local newspaper writer asked if he could write an article about our family because he was amazed at the harmony and respect we all had for each other. We've showered them with love and respect so they reciprocate - that's how it's done.

Posted by Spectator at large
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

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ISez:Why don't you get over the person trashing PAUSD and acquire a little humility and compassion for other families who may have not had the "perfect'" family like yours. By your definition, I am a failure as are many people with what appear to have reared tremendously successful children. My children are grown and doing fine. I do not take credit for their successes. You sound like you have very little compassion for people who come from different circumstances than yours. Perhaps there are many people out there who did not have good modeling for parenting in their childhoods. Why don't you get out there and share all your child rearing secrets with those who are less fortunate in the community? I can't imagine being in a restaurant and being singled out as a perfect model of harmony and respect. It appears that you are a bit of a braggart about your parenting skills frankly. Did you model humility to your children at home as well? I hope so!! Humility is a great character asset. Let's not be so judgmental of other families please, especially when you don't have any evidence to back up your assertions. It's unbecoming.

Posted by Frustrated mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm

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Thank you for the people who stood up for this kid, even though he is 20, to me he is still a kid, a young man who has taken the wrong turn. And I believe that it takes a village to raise a child right, not just good parenting. There are so many temptations out there four out kids. I am close friend to Axel's family, and really it hurts to know that he got into these mess. I can only imagine how painful it can be for his mother to read some of the hurtful comments that have been posted here. Both Axel and his mom are good people. I remember both of them were members of Raices de Mexico and perform folkloric dances in different schools and events. Axel was a great soccer player, and tennis player. He was in a soccer team, but he couldn't continue being a member because he did not have enough time to do his homework, which sometimes took too long. I really hope that this incident is a wake up call and that he gets the support he needs to stop these behaviors. It can happen to any of our kids. Please pray for him and his family.
And yes, just like when a former PAUSD student becomes a star at basketball and we feel proud that he live here in our neighborhood, we should stop to think and ask ourselves, what can we change about Palo Alto so more students can experience success even if they are not rich or come from educated parents. When we do that, we will be a caring society.

Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

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"It takes a village to raise a child right" is a copout. Blaming society is unproductive. A "caring society" will never exist. Caring people will exist, but to wish for a society to be caring is like wishing for all races to be perceived as equal.

It's a shame this boy took this path when he was living in a peaceful city rather than a city where teenage crime would be influential. I wonder if he knew the family he burglarized.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

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Frustrated mom - unfortunately, wake up calls happens too often. Those are ignored, until the next one. Unfortunately, a wake up call for one is just a non issue for the other, or for the community.

Posted by Neighborhood moms
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Neighborhood moms is a registered user.

Dear everyone-please don't pass judgement on incomplete stories. Axel has been a part of our neighborhood since we moved in almost 20 years ago. He has a wonderful loving home who provided him with many opportunities. He is an incredibly warm and sensitive young adult. What happened to him could happen to your child or ours. Its not Axels fault nor his family's nor the schools.
Again, please don't pass judgement and deface people online, when the only information you have gotten is from one police report and the story is much more complex than that. He is still a wonderful and talented young adult and it pains us for what has happened to him and how his family has been hurt.

Posted by the650nerd
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2012 at 3:02 am

the650nerd is a registered user.

In accordance to Axel Palmas and his violations,
I have noticed a lot of demeaning posts being publicized on the Palo Alto Police website:
Web Link
To be honest, I feel it is my duty, as his friend to justify his actions. He had a very unusual way of communicating with people and people would feel awkward, affectionate, sympathetic, or ignorant towards his actions. What I mean by this is that many people disregarded the fact that he may have been psychologically unstable. Despite his weird way of communicating with people, I always was there for him as a friend.
I went to school with him for several years and got to know him in a way a lot of people refused to. He was a wonderful guy to be around, in my opinion: a very welcoming voice and a HUGE heart. If someone asked him to do something for him, he never would reject and would always comply. Teachers loved him. My family was really close with him.
I am a student, at Foothill College now, and I’m pushing to transfer to a University in California in the field of Computer Science. The days I have hung out with Axel, he was always talking about how he wants to be the best for his mom. He worked numerous hours, at a bike shop and Walgreens, to help his mom out with rent and groceries. When I was with him, I always advocated going back to school. I got him to sign up at Foothill College but his schedule would always conflict not allowing him to achieve the most. His mom is Hispanic and has a hard time communicating with the rest of the people because she mainly speaks Spanish. She didn’t have the money to help Axel either. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia but his mom couldn’t do much to help – she didn’t know how. Is it her fault? Keep that in mind.
My main point with these words above: I loved Axel as a true friend and I wish I could have helped him even more. I wish I fought harder to put out his story. I wish I had started this talk a long time ago.
Here I am today to take fault off Palo Alto Schools, parenting, and other blame that was extolled. About 2 weeks prior to his arrest, I had visited him because he sounded very disturbed on the phone. I cared dearly for him as a friend, so I went to go chill with him for a little bit. My lifestyle has been isolation (I rarely hung out with anybody unless I really wanted to which was extremely rare due to my own hectic school/work schedule) and for me to go out my way to see him, shows that I felt something was wrong. When I arrived at his house, on bike, he offered to smoke with me but instead of smoking we got into a lengthy conversation about life. It started out with him asking about my school and work – how I was doing with it all. From that moment on, I sensed fear and sadness in him. I kept trying to talk him into a good mood, but it got worse. His words started to mix up and it almost seemed as if he was ready to kill himself. I started to get scared when he started to speak in Shakespeare (his language completely changed throughout the course of our conversation) and it made it difficult to understand him. I told him that. I told him “Axel, tell me what is going on because right now I’m having a hard time understanding you”. Axel’s voice started to rise in frustration as he could not get his point across. He told me he was crazy and that he will DO SOMETHING STUPID if I walked out the house. He grabbed my hand as I was trying to leave and did not let me go. I knew something was wrong. I escaped from his house while he was ranting about doing something stupid. I ran over to one of his neighbor’s house and called the police. When I called the police and they had arrived, they kept on questioning me as if I was the victim of smoking pot. They refused to believe my story. They refused to help me out and instead interrogated me on the spot about smoking weed. This shouldn’t have been a matter of smoking and more so about Axel and his stability. When the police went back to Axel’s house to check on him, he was gone. I kept on telling the officers they need to do something. They needed to find Axel. And instead they told me that he will come home eventually. The matter was dropped there – and sure enough led to this burglary.
I gave the police a reason to investigate. I gave a reason to look into Axel’s motives. Did they even know that Axel was diagnosed with Schizophrenia? If they weren’t so caught up in trying to bust me for smoking, they most likely would have resolved a lot of problems before they even happened.
Most importantly, my friend wouldn’t be in prison or jail. Palo Alto Police Department is to blame.
I am not the only one who reported Axel’s instability. I am not going to name these people who have reported similar warnings to the Palo Alto Police Department but if they actually did their job to look into previous reports – they would have a clue as to what was about to happen.
The warnings were there – he held me hostage and that isn’t enough? Get real, PAPD.

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