An alert security guard interrupted a late-night commercial burglary in progress Tuesday, and officers responded in time to nab a pair of suspects, one an off-duty security guard for the company he allegedly robbed, and recover 49 stolen laptop computers from the former corporate offices of Facebook.
The Palo Alto dispatch center received a call at about 1:31 a.m. Tuesday morning from one of the private security guards who monitor the business at 1050 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto.
The security company is contracted by Facebook to patrol their property. The offices, while no longer regularly occupied, still contain Facebook property.
The guard reported two masked men dressed in black entered the facility and were removing property. One of the suspects made eye contact with the security guard, and both suspects immediately fled while still in possession of items.
The guard determined one suspect was a black male. He was unable to determine the race of the second suspect, but obtained a description of the suspect's vehicle.
As officers responded to the in-progress burglary, a sergeant from the Palo Alto Police Department spotted the described vehicle with one occupant heading southbound on El Camino Real about to turn left onto eastbound Page Mill Road.
The suspect vehicle was being closely followed by a second car occupied by a black male. Officers stopped both vehicles on Page Mill Road at Ash Street at about 1:37 a.m.
Officers reported seeing bins of laptop computers inside the second vehicle, and after further investigation at the scene, placed both drivers under arrest. The driver of the second vehicle briefly resisted, but no one was injured.
Officers eventually located a stolen license plate and burglary tools inside the first vehicle. Police confirmed all of the laptops belonged to Facebook.
The investigation also revealed that the driver of the second vehicle was an off-duty private security guard employed by the same security company and had knowledge about what property remained in the building. The Palo Alto Police Department is not releasing the name of the private security company.
The private security company had also reported an act of vandalism at the same office on Monday (Sept. 24) at about 5:20 a.m. In that case, they had noticed a broken window pane near an exterior door.
Officers from the Palo Alto Police Department responded to that call but could not confirm that any property had been taken. An investigation revealed the two suspects got into the building at that same point of entry.
Police booked 20-year-old Brandon Simon and 21-year-old Travis Calhoun, both residents of Sunnyvale, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail. Police booked both men for commercial burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy (all felony charges).
Simon, also a security guard, had booking charges that also included embezzlement (a felony) and resisting arrest (a misdemeanor). Calhoun’s booking charges also included possession of burglary tools and driving with a suspended license (both misdemeanors).
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.