News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 0123201402
Subject :

Daytime Residential Burglar Sought After Waking Sleeping Resident
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- A burglar rummaging through a house during the day earlier this week was scared away when he walked into a bedroom and discovered he had awakened a sleeping resident.  The suspect fled in a vehicle and remains at large.

On Monday, January 20, 2014, at about 12:09 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call reporting that a burglary had occurred about 30 minutes beforehand at a residence in the 900 block of El Cajon Way.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his thirties, had been awakened by an unknown male suspect who had walked into his bedroom.  They made eye contact, and the suspect immediately fled.  The victim got out of bed to see a vehicle "peel out" from in front of the home.  The victim lives with five other people, and initially assumed the suspect may have been a guest of one of his roommates.  After he noticed that drawers in other rooms had been left open and things had been rummaged through, he realized the suspect had actually been a burglar and called the police.

The suspect likely entered the home through an unlocked sliding screen door in the backyard, after gaining entry to the backyard via an unlocked side yard gate.  It is not yet known what, if any, property was stolen during the burglary.

The victim described the suspect as a Hispanic male, about 20 years old, with a medium build and short black hair.  He had no facial hair, and he was wearing dark clothes.  It is possible that the victim may be able to meet with a police sketch artist; if a sketch is produced, it will be released as soon as it becomes available.  The victim described the suspect vehicle as a small silver SUV manufactured within the past five years, but could not discern the make or model.

No other residential burglaries occurred in Palo Alto that day.  Detectives are investigating this incident to see if it could be related to any other residential burglaries that have occurred in Palo Alto or surrounding communities.  Detectives do not believe that this case is related to the daytime home-invasion robbery that occurred this morning on the 400 block of Palo Alto Avenue.

This case highlights a common operating style of residential burglars.  Burglars will often ring the doorbell, posing as a solicitor or supposedly looking for someone who does not live there, to see if anyone is home.  In many cases, burglars then gain access to the rear yard after finding an unlocked side yard gate.  Once in the privacy of a backyard, they are free to break into the home unnoticed by passersby.  Residents are encouraged to speak through their doors to ask who is calling, or otherwise acknowledge in some manner that someone is home.  In this particular case, since the victim was asleep, it is unknown if this suspect rang the doorbell.

Police encourage you to always close and lock doors and windows whenever you are out, and to lock side yard gates.  If meter readers need to access your utility meter behind a locked gate, you can call Palo Alto Utilities Customer Service at 650-329-2161 to discuss options.

The Palo Alto Police Department's website has a section on crime prevention tips.  It can be accessed at  There are pages on home security, recognizing suspicious behavior, and more.

Anyone who may have information about this case is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.