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


Subject :

Police Arrest Two Men for Burglary of Vacant Commercial Building
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
John Matthew NewellJames Andrew Newell
Palo Alto, CA – Police arrested an uncle and his nephew on Sunday morning for burglary of a vacant commercial building.

On Sunday, October 30, 2016, at about 8:04 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of suspicious circumstances at a vacant commercial office building in the 3200 block of Hanover Street.  Private security personnel on site told police they had just seen two suspects inside the building via surveillance cameras.  The same building had been burglarized on October 14 and October 28, when unknown suspects had stolen copper wire from inside.  When officers arrived on scene, they saw the two suspects running on the roof of the building and scrambling to hide from police.

Officers conducted an extensive search of the building, and with the assistance of a canine unit from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, located the first suspect hiding in a room.  When that suspect (54-year-old John Matthew Newell, a person with no permanent residence address) disobeyed commands, the police dog took him into custody by biting him on the arm.  Officers later located the second suspect (28-year-old James Andrew Newell of Burlingame, and nephew of the first suspect) hiding on the roof, and took him into custody without incident.  A search of their belongings revealed they were both in possession of burglary tools (to include flashlights, gloves, wire cutters, and power tools), and that the second suspect was in possession of a pipe used to smoke narcotics.

The first suspect sustained puncture wounds to one of his arms as a result of the dog bite.  Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department treated him at the scene, and officers later took him to a local hospital to get him medically cleared for incarceration.

Detectives conducted follow-up investigation, and were able to develop information connecting both men to the two prior burglaries at the same building.  Police booked both suspects into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for three counts of felony commercial burglary and one count of misdemeanor possession of burglary tools.  Police also booked the second suspect for one misdemeanor count of possession of narcotics paraphernalia.  Booking photos of both suspects are attached to this release.

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