Palo Alto, CA – Police arrested a 17-year-old burglar last weekend after he entered an occupied residence overnight and awakened the sleeping residents. Officers later connected him to a nearby bicycle theft that had occurred the same night.
On Sunday, July 22, 2018, at about 12:31 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a couple in their sixties reporting they had just awakened to a stranger in the bedroom of their home in the 700 block of East Charleston Road. The male victim reported he had shoved the suspect out of his house and then called police. Officers responded immediately and detained the suspect without incident about a block away.
The investigation revealed that the couple had been asleep in their bedroom when they were awakened by the unknown suspect speaking to them and asking to use their WiFi network. The suspect was wearing something covering over his face. The male victim got out of bed, confronted the suspect, and pushed him down the hallway and out the front door of the house before calling police. No one was injured.
When officers found the suspect, he had a black T-shirt wrapped around the back of his neck under his sweatshirt. Officers believe that was what had been covering his face during the burglary. Officers determined the suspect had climbed into the home after cutting a screen covering an open window in the side yard. The suspect initially lied to police about his identity. The suspect’s motive for entering the home is unknown, but the victims reported that two kitchen knives were missing from a kitchen drawer. Police did not recover any weapons (including those kitchen knives) in the possession of the suspect.
Police arrested the suspect, a 17-year-old male from Palo Alto, for residential burglary (a felony), prowling (a misdemeanor), and providing false information to an officer (a misdemeanor). Officers transported him to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. In accordance with our standard release of information procedures, no additional information on the suspect is available since he is under the age of 18. We do not release booking photographs of juveniles in such situations.
During the afternoon of July 22, our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a bike theft from a backyard that had occurred overnight at a home in the 3800 block of Middlefield Road. Officers learned that at around 11:45 p.m. on July 21, a resident in her twenties noticed the suspect was outside her bedroom window, standing in the home’s side yard, and motioning that he wanted to talk to her. The woman notified another resident of the home, an adult in his late teens, and together the two of them confronted the suspect in the side yard. The suspect asked to use their WiFi network because he was out of data. The residents ordered the suspect to leave, and they watched him ride away on a bicycle. They did not notify police at the time.
The following morning, the male resident realized that his bicycle, which had been in the backyard, was missing. The residents reviewed their surveillance video and saw the suspect stealing the bike from the backyard and moving it to the front of the home prior to returning to the side yard and making contact with the female resident.
Officers checked the area for the stolen bicycle and found it near the location where police had detained the suspect. Officers returned the bicycle to the victim and are recommending that the District Attorney’s Office add a charge of misdemeanor petty theft against the suspect.
Overnight burglaries of occupied homes are very rare in Palo Alto. Police recommend securing side yard gates with a padlock, and promptly reporting any suspicious behavior to authorities. Detectives are investigating to see if this suspect may be connected to any other crimes in Palo Alto or the surrounding area.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.