By the Daily Post staff
Palo Alto police are looking for two burglars who hit two homes while residents slept inside and stole a car from a third in an overnight crime spree.
The incidents happened early Monday morning on Gailen Avenue in south Palo Alto, a few blocks from the intersection of Louis and E. Charleston roads.
Police got a call at 8:18 a.m. on Monday from a couple in the 700 block of Gailen who reported that two bicycles (a men’s black Gary Fischer Marlin mountain bike and a women’s black and teal Marin Kentfield CS1 bike) were stolen out of their garage at 2:42 a.m. They had the exact time because their reviewed their home surveillance system.
Then police checked the neighborhood and met a neighbor who checked their home surveillance system at around the same time frame and got pictures of a man with a flashlight prowling in their yard and entering through an unlocked side gate at 2:37 a.m.
At 9:39 a.m., police received a call about a 2012 Audi Q-7 sports utility vehicle stolen from in front of a home in the 3800 block of Corina Way, about a tenth of mile from the two burglaries.
The vehicle had been parked on the street with its doors unlocked, and the key had accidentally been left in the ignition. A review of home surveillance video from the victim’s home, as well as from the homes of neighbors, showed the theft occurred at 3:07 a.m. The videos depicted a light-colored sedan arriving on the street, with a passenger getting out, rummaging through the victim’s unlocked car, and then driving away in it with the sedan departing as well.
At 10:23 a.m., police received another call of anothere home burglary that had occurred overnight at a home in the 3700 block of Nathan Way. This location is about a third of a mile away from Gailen Avenue. The investigation revealed that the burglar had entered the property through an unlocked side yard gate and made entry through an unlocked window. Once inside the home, the man stole the resident’s purse from the kitchen table. Nothing else was stolen or appeared to be disturbed, and it appears as though the burglar left after grabbing the purse without entering any other rooms. The victims, a couple in their 40s, were asleep inside the home at the type of the crime and did not know it had occurred until they awoke to find the purse missing, the side yard gate open, and the open window with a screen removed.
Follow-up investigation revealed that somebody had attempted to use credit cards that had been in the victim’s purse at a San Jose convenience store at around 4:45 a.m. that same morning. Detectives are following up on those transactions.
While investigating this burglary, police located the stolen Audi Q-7 in the 3800 block of Nathan Way. The vehicle was unoccupied. Police processed the vehicle for evidence and returned it to the victim.
Overnight residential burglaries are extremely rare in Palo Alto, police said. 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. Police recommend putting locks on side yard gates to prevent easy unauthorized access to your property. Detectives believe all three of these crimes were likely committed by the same two suspects, and there is no indication that those suspects intended any physical harm to the sleeping residents.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.