Palo Alto, CA – Police are investigating an early-morning burglary attempt of an occupied home that occurred early Sunday morning. This marks the fourth such incident in the past two weeks in Palo Alto. The unknown suspect is at large.
In response to these incidents, officers are increasing patrols in neighborhoods during the overnight hours. Detectives are investigating any possible links between the cases and are also exploring any possible connections to similar crimes that may have been reported in other cities. At this point, it is unknown if all four Palo Alto cases are related.
On Sunday, October 25, 2020 at about 5:23 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call reporting a suspicious circumstance that had just occurred at a residence in the 1100 block of Fulton Street. The victim, a woman in her seventies, reported that she had been awakened by the sound of “rattling” at her back door. When she went to investigate, she heard the sound of someone running from her side yard. She immediately called police.
The investigation revealed that the unknown suspect had accessed the rear yard of the victim’s property via an unlocked side yard gate. The suspect removed two screens from windows and appears to have slid open a window left ajar that did not have a security rod preventing it from opening fully. No entry was made into the home. Police searched the neighborhood with a canine from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety but could not locate the suspect. There is no surveillance video.
There have been three burglaries of occupied homes committed overnight in the past two weeks; in those cases, the residents remained asleep and discovered their personal property missing when they awoke. There have been no confrontations between suspects and residents, and there is no evidence that the suspects have entered occupied bedrooms. For details of the other cases, see the news releases here and here.
With these recent notable exceptions, overnight residential burglaries are extremely rare in Palo Alto. Most residential burglars commit their crimes during the day, when homes are unoccupied and the chance of a confrontation with a resident are correspondingly reduced. If you have a side yard gate, police recommend putting a lock on it to prevent easy unauthorized access to your property. Police also recommend securing all windows and doors overnight. If you choose to hide a key outside your residence in the event you ever get locked out, recognize that involves a potential risk; as an alternative, consider leaving a spare house key with a trusted neighbor. For more crime prevention tips to help you stay safe, visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/StopCrime.
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.