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


Subject :

Police Capture and Arrest Two Auto Burglars
Contact : Janine De la Vega, Public Affairs Manager    6503292413

Palo Alto, CA – Police witnessed an auto burglary in progress in the downtown area and quickly arrested the suspects responsible. Officers discovered two children in the getaway car near a loaded handgun along with stolen property from recent auto burglaries.

On Thursday, November 21, 2019 at around 6:40 p.m., officers observed a vehicle making slow loops through the parking lot located at 450 Lytton Avenue. Numerous auto burglaries have recently occurred in that parking lot. Police watched the vehicle park and a male passenger exit. The male suspect walked around the lot looking inside vehicles. Officers watched as he broke a window of a red Toyota Rav 4 and pulled out a bag from the vehicle. Police identified themselves and commanded the suspect to stop. The suspect started running away toward the getaway vehicle, but the vehicle left him and fled onto Lytton Avenue. The male suspect surrendered and police arrested him without incident.

Other officers responding to the scene stopped the getaway vehicle near the parking lot taking the female driver into custody. Police found her two children, a two-year-old boy and three-year-old girl, unsecured in the rear seats. Near to the children, they located a loaded semiautomatic pistol which was reported as a lost firearm out of Milpitas. Police also found a flashlight, a window punch, an industrial retail security magnet remover, and stolen property from two previous reported auto burglaries that occurred this month in Palo Alto. Police contacted the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services to ensure the safety of the two children found in the suspect vehicle. Both were released to a responsible relative.

Through the investigation, police determined the suspects had committed two auto burglaries in the same parking lot on November 12 and 20. In both cases, the suspects smashed the windows of the vehicles and stole several items including electronics and credit cards. Those credit cards were used to make fraudulent purchases at various businesses. Police are also investigating whether the suspects are tied to other auto burglaries in Palo Alto and the surrounding area.

Police arrested 20-year-old Desmond Warren Silas and 22-year-old Serena Kimberly Robinson, both of San Jose, and booked them into the San Jose Main Jail. Silas and Robinson were both booked for auto burglary, child endangerment (felonies), resisting arrest, possession of burglary tools, and possession of stolen property (all misdemeanors). Silas also faces a felony charge of possession of a stolen firearm that is not registered to the subject. Robinson faces additional felony charges of conspiracy to commit an auto burglary and identity theft.

Robinson is on probation out of San Mateo County for grand theft. Police conducted a probation search of her residence in San Jose as part of their investigation and located a high capacity gun magazine. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will determine whether to file charges for possession of a high capacity gun magazine and driving with a suspended license. Both suspects’ booking photos are attached to this news 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 voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or