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 Burglar
Contact : Ron Harris, Detective, Police Department    650-329-2413
Booking Photo of Ibis Martinez-Mendoza
Palo Alto, CA -- Following an early-morning call from an alert resident reporting a burglary in progress at a vacant home under construction, police arrested a suspect as he fled the scene.  A second suspect escaped and remains at large.

On Friday, July 12, 2013, at about 1:43 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a resident reporting they could hear loud noises coming from a residential construction site in the 1400 block of Hamilton Avenue.  As officers were responding, the resident reported that they could see two subjects loading objects into a van parked in front of the construction site.

When officers arrived shortly thereafter, they found an unoccupied van with the doors open.  They saw construction tools inside the van, and saw more tools and equipment stacked nearby on the inside of a pried-open chain-link fence surrounding the property.  They then heard sounds of people running inside the construction site and climbing fences.

Officers set up a perimeter containment around the neighborhood.  At 2:09 a.m., an officer observed one of the suspects crawling through bushes in the yard of a home in the 500 block of Newell Road, several houses away from the crime scene.  The officer arrested the man without incident.  Despite a lengthy yard-to-yard search involving two canine units (one from the Palo Alto Police Department and one from the Los Altos Police Department), the second subject eluded capture.

Police recovered all of the stolen property, which was about $8000 of construction equipment to include a portable generator, a table saw, and assorted power tools.  The investigation revealed that after prying open the chain-link fence surrounding the property, the suspects used blunt force to break into a locked shed at the job site where the tools had been secured.

Police booked 30-year-old East Palo Alto resident Ibis Gerardo Martinez-Mendoza into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for one count of burglary (a felony).  A booking photo of Martinez-Mendoza is attached to this release.  The van, a green 2003 Ford, was registered to Martinez-Mendoza.

The second suspect is described only as a Hispanic male, about 5 feet 6 inches tall with a thin build.  He was last seen wearing a brown sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information about this incident, or the identity of the outstanding suspect, 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 voice mail to 650-383-8984.