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Smash-and-grab burglars hit Bloomingdale's at Stanford Shopping Center

Original post made on May 13, 2015

Palo Alto police are looking for four people who drove a stolen sports utility vehicle through the front glass doors of Bloomingdale's at Stanford Shopping Center, at 180 El Camino Real, early Wednesday morning and made off with a large quantity of jewelry.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 10:42 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Is there something missing in this story? No mention of any shopping center security anywhere.But then the front door at the old Bloomingdales had the filthy black overhang which looked like it had never been cleaned. I guess
Simon just doesn't believe in frills, the rent is just not high enough.

Posted by sea reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on May 13, 2015 at 8:36 pm

A lot of familied with childern and seniors come for stroll around here from our communities.
Very bad this happened around us.

It is not only palo alto problem but neighbors around us like Menlo, Atherton, woodside, mountain view, Los altos need to pay attention to beef up security. .

Request chief Burns to lead us to make the mall safer.


Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 13, 2015 at 11:45 pm

Obviously crime pays, or these things wouldn't happen.
Is there no way to raise the cost to those who are caught?

Posted by allen edwards
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2015 at 10:49 am

This is very hard to stop. It all happened in one minute. A similar thing happened at West Marine where someone drove a car through the store and took a lot of GPS equipment. They installed large round posts, about 10 inches in diameter and 2 feet tall around the entrance so that a car cannot get past. That is what it takes to stop this kind of thing. It is a shame that is the kind of world we live in.

Posted by Lora
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2015 at 11:03 am

If only there was a liveable wage.

Posted by Kerry55
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2015 at 11:18 am

Now I understand why the Apple Store on University has those large cylindrical posts, but the new Mitchell Park Library ..........needs a ddropoff box in front entrance.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2015 at 11:53 am

@ musical: I agree. The negative consequences of crime -- including theft -- just aren't enough to dissuade would-be criminals from engaging in an act of crime.

I would love to see a study conducted that examined the roots of crime. This would include all factors that are common in those who commit various types of crime. While poverty is certainly one factor in crime, most of the nation's poor do not commit crimes. So, what other factors contribute to a person deciding to commit acts like these? Are there certain cultural norms that are more accepting of crime or more forgiving of criminals? Are criminals more likely to come from single-parent homes? Are they more likely to have a bleak outlook on their future vocational prospects (and, if so, why)?

This would be a great project for projects analyzing the criminal justice system. Before we can think of a cure, we have to have a proper diagnosis. Prevention, after all, is the best cure. Unfortunately, there are certain groups that believe that any look into such matters might reek of "ulterior motives" (e.g., prejudice against poverty, race, xenophobia, etc...) when it is merely academic in nature.

As for consequences: I think that it would behoove America to force criminals to work. Prisoners should be forced to "earn" their keep. This brings up an interesting prospect about reform.

Prisons are filled with people who are largely lumped together in one prison block. I agree that non-violent, non-theft/trafficking drug offenders shouldn't be
serving sentences in the same types of prisons as violent criminals. I think that all privileges should be earned in prisons (from outdoor time to desserts in their meals). This ability to "unlock" freedoms would be the carrot in front of the mule in terms of encouraging better institutional behavior plus develop a moral compass and work ethic to those who are incarcerated.

More importantly, I think that certain crimes -- from petty crimes to non-violent offenses -- should be given the opportunity of "atonement." In other words, they can be released on some sort of service-related vocation that would help them pay back their victims or society in general for their crimes while earning a "tabula rasa" when it comes to their criminal record. If a non-violent offender could serve in the military in some capacity (from conscripted janitors or other forms of labor) until they "prove themselves" and allow for a "sentence" of service (even in the Peace Corp) with the hope of having their criminal record erased upon completion, this might be a much more viable alternative to years of imprisonment followed by a lifelong criminal record that will show up in a background check (thwarting the hope for a job).

What do you think?

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As long as the income gap widens and those at the bottom have virtually zero chance for gainful employment these kinds of crimes will become more and more common. Willie Sutton robbed banks because "that is where the money is". Some people without a job and without other resources will hit the many soft targets in our communities. Banks are not soft targets. Stores with high value goods are soft targets. Making these targets harder is dealing with the symptom rather than the cause of these thefts.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

@ Peter Carpenter:

Oh, I believe that poverty is certainly a factor in crime. However, I also know that most poor people do not commit crime. It is a certain subsection of the low-income population that does this. In order to come up with a preventive "vaccine" (for lack of a better term), I think that we need to find out what specifically motivates a certain subsection to turn to crime while most people -- including most of the poor -- do not.

Is it simply that people aren't taught right from wrong at home or school? Is there a lack of positive/negative peer pressure when it comes to doing the right thing?

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 14, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Nayeli - You are asking exactly the right questions. And the answer is not to "harden" every store that is a potential target.

And note that i stated "SOME people without a job and without other resources..." not ALL poor people.

Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on May 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm

A lot of people people prefer to put high fences around their property instead of working to improve social issues. The greater the inequality gap, the higher and stronger the fences if the majority attitudes toward social issues continue to prevail.

Posted by rex
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 14, 2015 at 2:28 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on May 14, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Four dangerous thugs commit a crime and we're talking about "atonement" and "social issues?" Give me a break. Life can be unfair; we all learn that at an early age and most cope with it through hard, honest work. There are bad apples in society at all levels of the financial spectrum and they all should be fully prosecuted. Best of luck to the PAPD in finding these criminals.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 14, 2015 at 3:19 pm

This kind of robbery reminds me of the movie "Heat". Massive dramatics, massive
possibility for violence and mayhem. Maybe filling movie release after release with
violence and making it look cool never was such a great idea.

They have to catch these people and I don't care what happens to them when they

Posted by cds
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Wow. Lots of hand-wringing in here.
"Families?" How many families are at the mall at 4am?

And all the talk of retribution? It was some jewelry. Nobody died, or was even injured. Let's put this in perspective.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 14, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Regarding "prisoners earning their keep," do keep in mind that prisoners do work for while in prisons. Big companies like banks and credit card companies -- among others -- paying prisoners pennies a day to work. They profit from low-cost labor and we the taxpayers foot the bill.

Private prisons are big business. One Pennsylvania judge was just sentenced to 28 years for profiting from sentencing juvenile offenders to very long jail sentences. The private prison companies PAID him based on how many kids he sentenced and the length of their jail terms. Look up publicly traded private prison companies like Corrections Corp. (CXC)

I'm not defending the Bloomingdale robbers -- or any criminals. But where's the simil;ar outrage over the 5 bankers who were just found guilty of manipulating the whole financial system and NONE of them get jailed?

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Yeah, no blood, no foul. Until some bystander gets run down.

Hope authorities are going through last two weeks of Bloomies surveillance data. Probably video there of the perps casing the displays during business hours.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2015 at 11:56 am

@ Nora Charles: Oh, I agree with you. The thugs who did this deserve what is coming to them. They should be arrested and spend many miserable years behind bars. The point is that those years behind bars need to be miserable to prevent anyone from wanting to join them.

Anti-capital punishment advocates argue that the death penalty isn't a good deterrent for crime -- citing statistics in years and states where the punishment is legal. Yet, our criminal justice system in general isn't a very good deterrent either. In certain groups, crime has increased even as sentences have too.

Still, I can't help but think that jail and justice itself is a treatment for an ailment that isn't being properly analyzed. If people looked at crime with the same sort of analytic determination as researchers look into other epidemics, then our crime rates might be finally begin to decrease. Unfortunately, people take surface-level analysis and blame broad concepts like poverty or drug addiction for a crime rate where such conditions are only loosely related.

As a Hispanic woman, I am embarrassed by the crime rate among Hispanics in the United States. Yet, I come from a family of good, decent and hard-working immigrants -- even though we were extremely poor (especially by the American definition of "poor"). Why did we become good, law-abiding contributors to society when a significant number from similar backgrounds turn to crime, lethargy or general hopelessness?

Was it because we had two parents who taught us right from wrong? Was it simple genetics (because I and my siblings score higher on intelligence tests)? Is it because we were taught at an early age that stealing, lying, cheating, violence or even laziness (vocational and academic) is detestable?

These are questions that should be looked at. I would love to participate in such research -- especially if it could pinpoint specific reasons why some people in similar circumstance turn into good citizens while others resort to a life of crime or moral deficiency.

Like you, I hope that the PAPD finds these thugs and forces them to face justice for their idiocy. Not only did they steal from a store at the Stanford Shopping Center (and cause considerable damage), but they also stole a vehicle and used it for their subsequent crime. Perhaps public humiliation for the most flagrant of offenders might be the best way to apply the necessary peer pressure that would prevent thugs from acting like this in the future.

Posted by norcalfellow
a resident of Los Altos
on May 15, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Bloomingdale's builds a new free standing store with a lot of glass walls and doors in what was a parking lot where vehicles can still easily make contact with all sides of the building, yet there are no barriers at the entrances to prevent cars from breaking in.

And what jewelry department or store doesn't empty their display cases at night and lock everything up? And who leaves them on the first floor close enough to a door to be stolen in less than a minute?

It is terrible when any crime like this is committed, but it is not surprising that this happened. Fact of life--stores get robbed, particularly high end stores that don't take basic precautions to protect themselves.

Posted by Illuminato
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Someone thinks there are good reasons for committing crimes? There's an income gap so that means go rob a jewelry store? How incredibly stupid! I hope those people are the next to be victimized, if they think they deserve it.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 16, 2015 at 7:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Someone thinks there are good reasons for committing crimes? There's an income gap so that means go rob a jewelry store?"

No one has said that - please read the above posts more carefully. Probable causation and justification are two very different things.

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