Palo Alto, CA – Following recent publicity surrounding a rash of overnight burglaries of occupied homes, two more Palo Alto residents have come forward to report that an unknown suspect tried unsuccessfully to get into their homes early on Sunday morning.
In response to these incidents, which now number six cases since October 12, police have increased patrols (both marked and unmarked) in neighborhoods during the overnight hours. Detectives are still searching for any evidence that might connect the cases.
On Monday, October 26, 2020, at about 10:00 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a suspicious circumstance at a residence in the 700 block of Channing Avenue. The victim, a man in his thirties, reported that between 3:15 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, he had been awakened by the sound of something rattling and banging. The noise also awakened a young child in the home, who began to cry. When he went to investigate, he found a window in his living room was ajar. The victim went to care for his child and then returned to sleep. Upon learning of the recent overnight burglaries, he notified police about what had occurred. The investigation revealed that the unknown suspect had pried open the locked window, but a security rod had prevented it from opening fully. No entry was made into the home. There is no surveillance video.
On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at about 8:21 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a suspicious circumstance at a residence in the 3300 block of South Court. The victim, a woman in her nineties, reported that at 3:15 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, she had been awakened by light from a flashlight in her backyard. She did not hear anything and returned to sleep. The next morning, she discovered that her unlocked side yard gate was open, that a screen had been removed from a bathroom window, and that the window was opened slightly. The window had a security rod that prevented it from opening fully. No entry was made into the home. There is no surveillance video. The victim notified police after learning about the recent overnight burglaries from a family member.
There have now been six burglaries or attempted burglaries of occupied homes committed overnight since October 12. Three of them occurred between 3:15 a.m. and 5:23 a.m. on Sunday, October 25. 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, 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. Additionally, police encourage residents to promptly report suspicious circumstances or suspicious behavior. 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 email@example.com 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.