Palo Alto Police arrested three men for residential burglary on Friday afternoon after an officer stopped a vehicle and discovered property stolen from the burglary inside.
East Palo Alto residents Gilbert Garcia, 20, and 35-year-old Israel Aguilar, and Hayward resident Hector Jose Sandoval, 31, were arrested on charges of residential burglary, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy (all felony crimes). The three were also arrested for possession of burglary tools -- a misdemeanor -- and all were booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
At about 1:45 p.m. Friday, a resident in the 2400 block of Agnes Way in Palo Alto called police to report a residential burglary. Officers responded to investigate and determined that an unknown suspect or suspects had gained entry by opening an unlocked window after cutting through the window screen between 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. and ransacked the home.
The resident reported that several items of property had been stolen, including a man’s watch, jewelry and electronics. The resident did not have any suspect information.
At about 2:08 p.m., an officer from the Palo Alto Police Department stopped a car on Oregon Expressway at Middlefield Road for a Vehicle Code violation. The officer smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the car and detained the three occupants for investigation.
The officer learned that one of the occupants - Sandoval - was on searchable probation out of Alameda County for vehicle theft and domestic violence. The officer conducted a probation search and found the man’s watch that had been just been stolen in the Agnes Way burglary, as well as several tools commonly used for committing burglaries.
The ensuing investigation led to the recovery of all of the property stolen in the Agnes Way burglary. Officers estimated the total value of the stolen and recovered property to be between $10,000 and $15,000.
The Palo Alto Police Department’s top priorities right now are burglary prevention and burglar apprehension. The Department launched the “Lock It or Lose It!” public education campaign in March, following a dramatic spike in daytime residential burglaries. The campaign is designed to focus the public’s attention on how best to prevent burglaries, how to report suspicious behavior, and how best to report that suspicious behavior to police.
Police have reassigned personnel specifically to daytime residential burglary suppression and apprehension. The officer who conducted the vehicle stop and made the arrests in this case happened to be one of those reassigned officers.
The Palo Alto Police Department’s website has a section on crime prevention tips. It can now be accessed at a new, easy-to-remember URL: www.cityofpaloalto.org/StopCrime.
There are pages on home security, recognizing suspicious behavior and more.
Residents are encouraged to call 9-1-1 to report suspicious behavior, and allow police to investigate if that behavior is innocent or criminal. Anyone having information about this case, or about our current burglary trend, can contact our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.