Broken hammer stops daytime theft at high-end consignment store

Two men tried to break their way into The RealReal at 379 University Ave. in Palo Alto on Thursday, but they couldn’t shatter the glass with a hammer. Post photo by Braden Cartwright.

A pair of thieves tried to smash their way into a designer consignment store in downtown Palo Alto on Thursday but were thwarted when the wooden handle of their hammer broke.

Two men in all black pulled up to The RealReal at 379 University Ave. at 1:47 p.m.

The RealReal keeps its doors locked during normal business hours, police Lt. David Lee said.

After banging on the glass front door, they drove westbound in a silver Infiniti with severe rear bumper damage, police said.

A license plate-reading camera detected the car at Middlefield Road and Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park about 30 minutes later. Emeryville police had already told police to be on the lookout for the car, indicating that it was associated with a crime in the East Bay.

This isn’t the first time that thieves have tried and failed to break into The RealReal. A group of about 30 people tried using tools to smash their way in on Black Friday in 2021 but couldn’t get through the glass.
The store was boarded up for several weeks after.

The RealReal sells clothes, bags and jewelry that can be worth more than $100,000.