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


Subject :

Police Arrest Suspect for Overnight Thefts from Parked Cars
Contact : Zach Perron, Captain, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA – After a timely overnight call from a resident reporting a suspicious circumstance, police arrested a man for stealing items from several parked cars in Palo Alto neighborhoods.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at about 3:01 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a resident in the 1500 block of Dana Avenue reporting a suspicious circumstance.  The resident, a woman in her fifties, relayed that after she was awakened by her home's burglar alarm, she noticed that the interior lights in one of her cars parked on the street were on and that the car appeared to have been rummaged through.

Officers responded to the area immediately and found a house key (which had either been in the victim’s vehicle or hidden near the front door) in the lock of the front door.  The investigation revealed the suspect had found the key and used it to gain access to the house.  When the suspect opened the front door, the burglar alarm sounded and apparently frightened him off.

An officer observed a possible suspect wearing a ski mask bicycling away from the scene, and stopped him without incident in the 1400 block of Dana Avenue.  Officers learned the suspect was on active probation in San Francisco County for carrying a concealed firearm, and conducted a probation search.  In addition to finding a concealed six-inch knife in his jacket pocket, officers also found a wallet, credit cards, and driver licenses belonging to three different people.  Police also found a flashlight and a window punch (a commonly-used tool for committing auto burglaries).

The follow-up investigation into the recovered property revealed that it had all been taken that night from three separate unlocked cars (one in the 00 block of Tulip Lane, one in the 100 block of Primrose Way, and one in the 2000 block of Louis Road).

Police booked the suspect, 24-year-old San Francisco resident Isaiah Micah-Zachary Benton, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for possession of an illegal concealed knife (a felony), petty theft (a misdemeanor), possession of burglary tools (a misdemeanor), prowling (a misdemeanor) and three counts of misdemeanor possession of stolen property.  His booking photo is attached to this release.

Officers are continuing to investigate to see if the suspect can be connected to any other overnight thefts in Palo Alto or surrounding communities. There were five additional thefts from auto reported to us that had occurred during the same timeframe as the four cases for which the suspect was booked.  Those five thefts from unlocked cars occurred in the 100 blocks of Iris Way and Primrose Way, the 200 block of Iris Way, the 500 block of Hilbar Lane, and the 1800 block of Hamilton Avenue.

Police believe that it is possible the suspect was working in conjunction with another individual.  Officers are continuing their investigation into the identity of that second possible suspect.

Overnight thefts from unlocked cars are common crimes in Palo Alto and surrounding cities.  We recommend that residents keep their parked cars locked at all times, and never leave valuables in plain view.  Thus far in 2017, there have been 113 thefts from unlocked cars reported to us in Palo Alto.

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