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


Subject :

House Cleaner Arrested for Burglarizing Homes of Employers
Contact : Brian Philip, Detective Sergeant, Police    650-329-2413
Martha Quintero-Ramirez
Palo Alto, CA -- Officers from the Palo Alto Police Department arrested a house cleaner for residential burglary after locating jewelry in her possession that she had stolen from two Palo Alto homes that she cleans.  Police believe that she may be responsible for thefts from employers in several other Peninsula cities as well.

On Saturday, November 17, 2012, at about 8:42 a.m., officers from the Palo Alto Police Department responded to a residence in the 700 block of Bryant Street on a report of a residential burglary that had occurred the previous morning.  The victim told police that she and her next door neighbor had both had their homes cleaned on November 16 by their usual house cleaners.  One of the house cleaners had worked for the victim for more than 20 years; the second house cleaner, 36-year-old suspect Martha Quintero-Ramirez of Redwood City, had worked for the victim for less than two years.

A short time after the cleaning had been completed, the victim noticed things in her closet were slightly out of place.  The victim looked further and discovered that money she had discreetly hidden just prior to the arrival of the cleaners was missing, as were six items of jewelry and two bottles of prescription medication.

The victim phoned their next door neighbor, who uses the same house cleaners, and informed them of what had happened.  That resident checked their home and discovered that a wedding ring and an antique watch were missing.  These two victims contacted a third Palo Alto resident who also uses the same house cleaners at their home in the 1500 block of Castilleja Avenue.  That resident discovered several pieces of jewelry and antique coins missing from their home.  Those items had gone missing at some point over the past two months, but the victim thought she had simply misplaced the items.

After conducting the initial investigation, officers determined that only one of the two house cleaners was involved with the thefts.  Police do not believe that the other house cleaner had any knowledge of what the suspect was doing.

On Saturday, November 17, 2012, officers from the Palo Alto Police Department contacted the suspect in Redwood City.  Officers recovered the wedding ring belonging to the second victim, as well as a bracelet belonging to the third victim, from the suspect's possession.  Police seized several other items of jewelry that were also in the suspect’s possession for investigation.  Officers did not locate any of the property stolen from the first victim.

Police booked the suspect into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for two counts of residential burglary (a felony).  A booking photograph of the suspect is attached to this news release.

During the course of the investigation, officers learned that the suspect also cleans homes in Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, San Carlos, San Mateo, and Redwood City.  Police believe that she may have been stealing from her various employers for over a year.  Anyone who may have employed Quintero-Ramirez and had property stolen is encouraged to contact their local police department to report the theft.  Detectives from the Palo Alto Police Department will then work with other agencies to investigate any additional crimes that may have been committed.

Anyone having information about these Palo Alto cases can contact 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.