By the Daily Post staff
Palo Alto police are investigating another nighttime burglary of an occupied home, the fourth such incident in the past two weeks.
Police said they are stepping up patrols in neighborhoods at night. Detectives are investigating any links between the cases and exploring any possible connections with similar burglaries in other cities. At this point, it’s unknown if all four Palo Alto cases are related, police said.
This time a woman in the 11oo block of Fulton Street reported that she had been awakened by the sound of “rattling” at her back door at around 5 a.m. on Sunday (Oct. 25).
The victim, a woman in her 70s, said that when she went to investigate, she heard the sound of someone running from her side yard. She immediately called police.
Police determined that the burglar had accessed the rear yard of the victim’s property through an unlocked side yard gate. The burglar removed two screens from windows and apparently slid open a window that did not have a security rod to prevent it from fully opening. The burglar didn’t get inside the home, police said.
Police searched the neighborhood with a police dog borrowed from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety but couldn’t locate the burglar.
Prior to Sunday’s incident, there had been three burglaries of occupied homes in Palo Alto in the past two weeks. In those cases, the residents remained asleep and discovered items missing when they awoke. There have been no confrontations between burglars and residents, and there is no evidence that the suspects have entered occupied bedrooms.
Police said that overnight residential burglaries have been rare in Palo Alto. Most burglars hit homes during the day, when the residences are unoccupied and the chance of a confrontation with a homeowner is rare.
Police are offering residents the following tips:
• If you have a side yard gate, police recommend putting a lock on it to prevent easy unauthorized access to your property.
• Secure 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.
Anyone with information about these burglaries is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.