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


Subject :

Alert Neighbor’s Call Leads to Arrest of Package Thief
Contact : Marco Estrada, Officer, Police    650-329-2413
Andrew Philip Stafford
Palo Alto, CA -- An alert neighbor called 9-1-1 after watching a suspect steal a package off a neighbor's porch on New Year’s Day.  Police located the suspect nearby and arrested him for a multitude of charges, including weapons violations and possession of narcotics.  Detectives have since connected the suspect to a similar theft in San Jose and are conducting follow-up investigation into other property found in his possession which may have been taken in two other package thefts from porches in the San Jose area.

On Tuesday, January 1, 2013, at about 12:20 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a 9-1-1 call from a resident in the 2600 block of Marshall Drive.  The caller reported that they had just witnessed a suspect steal two packages off a neighbor’s porch.  The caller provided a description of the suspect and said he had just driven away in a white pick-up truck headed southbound on Ross Road from Marshall Drive.

Officers from the Palo Alto Police Department arrived in the area about two minutes later, and a detective observed a person matching the suspect’s description driving a white pick-up truck.  While the detective watched, the vehicle parked in the 3400 block of Janice Way.  Other officers arrived on scene and detained the single male occupant, who was subsequently identified as 25-year-old Andrew Philip Stafford of Union City.  His vehicle was a white 1972 Chevrolet pick-up.

The investigation revealed that the suspect was in possession of the stolen packages from Marshall Drive.  They contained miscellaneous personal property valued at about $120.  Also inside the suspect’s truck, officers found a collapsible baton and a replica .45-caliber handgun with the safety markings removed, both of which were hidden within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat.  Officers also found the suspect to be in possession of methamphetamine and cocaine, as well as indicia (including numerous plastic baggies and a scale commonly used to weigh narcotics) that the suspect may be selling those drugs.  Officers found syringes as well.  Detectives located a personal check in the suspect’s truck that they were able to determine had been stolen out of a mailbox in San Jose back on December 28.

Detectives also conducted additional follow-up investigation, including serving a search warrant on a storage locker rented by the suspect in Campbell.  They located two boxes in the storage locker that they believe may also be packages stolen off of porches in San Jose.  They are contacting the possible owners of that property to determine if it was indeed stolen, or if the suspect had their permission to be in possession of it.

Police booked the suspect into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for possession of stolen property, possession of an illegal baton, and possession of methamphetamine and cocaine for sale (all felony charges), as well as possession of a imitation firearm with the safety markings removed and possession of drug paraphernalia (both misdemeanor charges).  Additional charges may be pending, depending on the results of the follow-up investigation.  A booking photo of the suspect is attached to this press release.

Police credit the original reporting party for not only recognizing suspicious behavior (in the form of a person they did not recognize removing packages from their neighbor’s front porch), but also for reporting it promptly by calling 9-1-1.  The timely call, coupled with a quick response from our officers, led directly to this arrest.

Package theft from porches, particularly during the holidays, is a common crime throughout the Bay Area.  Palo Alto has seen a few isolated cases in the past month, but it has not been a widespread problem this holiday season.  Detectives are investigating if this suspect may be connected to these other few cases of package theft in Palo Alto.

Police ask that anyone who may have information about this crime 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.