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


Subject :

Undercover Sting Nets Arrest of Man with Stolen Package from Porch
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Eric Trinidad Espinoza booking photo
Palo Alto, CA -- During an undercover sting, police arrested a man in possession of a package stolen off of a resident's porch after the suspect posted it for sale online.

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a package theft that had occurred at a residence in the 2100 block of Webster Street.  The victim, a man in his forties, reported that an unknown suspect had walked up to his porch at about 10:25 p.m. on May 18 and stolen a package that had been delivered by a shipping company.  The victim's home surveillance system captured the theft on video.  To watch the video on our YouTube channel, click here:

The victim had shared the video widely on Nextdoor (the private, neighborhood-based social media network) so his neighbors would be aware of what had occurred.  As the video spread throughout the community, the victim remained vigilant online and located an item for sale on Craigslist that he believed matched what had been in the stolen package.  The item was an awning with an approximate value of $250.  Once the victim saw the Craigslist ad, which included contact information for the seller, he reported the theft to police.

An officer contacted the seller, posing as an interested buyer.  The suspect agreed to meet the "buyer" in a parking lot in the 3100 block of El Camino Real on Saturday, May 30.  At about 11:25 a.m., the suspect arrived and met with two undercover officers.  After the officers examined the item and determined it was the same one that had been stolen off of the victim's porch, the officers arrested the suspect without incident.  Police found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the suspect's possession.

Police booked 39-year-old Eric Trinidad Espinoza of Mountain View into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended license (all misdemeanors).  His booking photo is attached to this release.

This case highlights a crime that, unfortunately, occurs in virtually every community in our country.  Packages that are left unattended on a porch make easy targets for criminals. To avoid becoming a victim, we recommend considering these tips:

1. If your employer will allow it, have packages delivered to your office.

2. Have packages delivered to a place where they can be received in person, such as the home of a trusted neighbor who stays home during the day, or a retired relative.

3. Request that the shipper hold your package at their pick-up facility so you can pick it up in person at your convenience.

4. If purchasing something from a large retailer, request that your package be delivered to a local branch of the store so you can pick it up in person at your convenience.

5. Request that the shipper require a signature confirmation upon delivery; this will prevent your package from being left at an unattended home.

6. Request a specific delivery date and time from the shipper when you know you will be home.

7. Provide delivery instructions to the shipper so that packages can be left at a safe location at your home that is out of sight from the street.

8. Sign up for delivery alerts (text messages or e-mails) from the shipper; call a trusted neighbor when the packages are delivered, and ask them to take the packages inside for safekeeping until you get home.

Please consider joining Nextdoor (  We use Nextdoor as one of the many ways we provide crime prevention information to our community, but it's also a great way for you to connect directly with your neighbors and learn quickly about things like this that are happening in your neighborhood.  Ten thousand Palo Altans have already signed up for Nextdoor.  You can register for free by clicking here:

Anyone with information about this incident or this suspect 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