Police Arrest Pair of Auto Burglars

Published on January 24, 2022

Palo Alto, CA Police arrested two men last week after they committed several auto burglaries in Palo Alto.  Police were able to return stolen property to the victims.

On Thursday, January 20, 2022, at about 8:24 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center began to receive multiple reports of auto burglaries of parked and unoccupied vehicles that had been committed beginning that evening, typically while the occupants were out dining.  While officers began to investigate the crimes, one victim (a woman in her twenties) told police at about 8:46 p.m. that she was actively tracking the location of a personal electronic item stolen out of her car to a parking lot in the 600 block of San Antonio Road in Mountain View.  Officers responded to the area to investigate.

The victim continued to provide real-time updates and said the item was now tracking to a parking lot in the 2500 block of West El Camino Real in Mountain View.  Officers did not see any pedestrian or vehicle traffic in that particular lot except for a single car, a silver 2013 Hyundai Elantra rental, which was driving quickly through the lot.  Officers followed that car and ultimately stopped it in the 900 block of San Antonio Road in Los Altos for assorted moving violations and equipment violations at about 9:00 p.m.  The victim reported that the item was now tracking to the location of the vehicle stop.

Further investigation at the scene resulted in the detention and ultimate arrest of the two occupants.  Police located property stolen from a total of eight auto burglaries in the car.  All the auto burglaries had occurred in Palo Alto that night between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and in each of the cases, victims had left items in plain view in their locked and unoccupied cars.  The items were typically backpacks containing laptop computers and other personal electronic devices; the suspects broke the windows of the cars to make entry and take the items.  Police recovered all the stolen laptops and most of the other stolen items of value in the suspect vehicle and returned that property to the victims.  Officers located a window punch tool in the possession of each of the suspects.

The auto burglaries occurred at parking lots in the 300 block of Sherman Avenue, the 2300 block of Birch Street, the 400 block of Cambridge Avenue, the 2600 block of El Camino Real, and the 4200 block of El Camino Real.

Police booked the two suspects, 22-year-old Azari Benjamin Mays and 21-year-old Treshawn Cortez Villegas, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.  Both men are residents of Stockton.  Their booking charges included multiple counts of auto burglary (a felony), conspiracy (a felony), and possession of burglary tools (a misdemeanor).  Their booking photos are attached to this release (Mays is on the left; Villegas is on the right).

Detectives are conducting follow-up investigation to determine if these suspects are connected to any other auto burglaries in neighboring jurisdictions, or any other auto burglaries in Palo Alto.

The crime of auto burglary is common in virtually all cities in the Bay Area.  To avoid becoming a victim, never leave valuables in your unattended car.  For many more crime prevention tips, visit our website at www.cityofpaloalto.org/StopCrime.   

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 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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