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


Subject :

Auto Burglars Strike Nine Vehicles Last Night
Contact : Brian Philip, Detective Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Photo of Lot R
Palo Alto, CA -- Burglars broke into nine parked cars, most of which were in downtown Palo Alto, during the dinnertime hours last night.

On Tuesday, March 3, 2015, officers responded to nine auto burglary cases that had occurred between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.  Three of the cases occurred on the upper floors of City Parking Garage "R" at 528 High Street, and four of the others occurred elsewhere downtown (in the 500 block of Webster Street, the 400 block of Hamilton Avenue, the 500 block of University Avenue, and the 300 block of Lytton Avenue).  The last two cases occurred on El Camino Real in the 1800 and 1900 blocks.

In each of the cases, the burglars smashed windows to remove backpacks, bags, or briefcases that the victims had left in plain view.  In eight of the nine cases, the items stolen contained electronic devices (like laptops and tablet computers).  It does not appear that the suspects targeted any particular make or model of car, thought it does as appear as though the suspects could be targeting rental vehicles, perhaps with the thinking that business travelers often travel with personal electronic devices.  Seven of the nine victim vehicles were rental cars.

We recommend that you take your valuables with you whenever possible, or at the very least, secure them out of sight prior to arriving at your destination.  Leaving valuables in plain view is a sure way to attract the attention of a burglar.  Also, be sure to always lock your vehicle and close the windows when it is unattended.  While that advice would not have helped the victims in these cases, having a locked vehicle will absolutely have a deterrent effect on some criminals.  For more crime prevention tips, please visit our website at

Officers and detectives are actively working on these cases.  Uniformed officers are increasing their patrols, and plainclothes detectives are also out looking for the suspects.

To date in 2015, we have had 65 auto burglaries reported to us.  In the first three months of 2014, we had 97 total auto burglaries.  There were a total of 313 auto burglaries in 2014, down from a six-year high (dating back to 2008) of 409 in 2013.

We encourage people to call 9-1-1 to report suspicious behavior, and allow the police to investigate if that behavior is innocent or criminal.  It is always better to call and let the police do their job, rather than rationalize suspicious behavior and not call.  For example, people loitering in parking lots and peering into cars or trying door handles is absolutely suspicious behavior, and merits a 9-1-1 call right away.

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 or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or