Police: Rash of Vehicle Burglaries Targets Laptops, Electronics

Laptops, electronic equipment, and personal documents were stolen from locked vehicles. More than a dozen thefts, most with the same M-O.

Palo Alto Police are warning residents and visitors about a string of vehicle burglaries at parking lots and garages. Here’s what the thieves do—they break out a window and steal items from the passenger compartment, or they pull the trunk release lever, then steal laptops and other electronics stored securely out-of-sight in trunks. 

The thieves work fast—last Wednesday they hit six vehicles in the Stanford Shopping Center parking lot between 8:00 – 8:10 p.m. 

Just a half hour later, at 8:42 p.m., police received a call about an auto burglary at City Parking Garage “R” on High Street. Officers found four burglarized vehicles. Each case there involved a smashed window and items stolen from the interior or from a trunk. 

City Parking Lot “H” on Cowper Street was hit next. There, just one vehicle was burglarized. A window was busted out and two laptop bags containing computers and personal items were stolen. That burglary was reported at 9:17 p.m. 

The thieves were just getting warmed up—on Thursday six more auto burglaries were reported at three separate downtown parking garages. The targeted structures were City Parking Garage “R” on High Street, City Parking Garage “S” on Bryant Street, and City Parking Garage “J” on Webster Street. 

Detectives believe that the 17 cases are related, and were committed by the same suspect or group of suspects. Police are actively working the cases. 

“We encourage people to call 9-1-1 to report suspicious behavior, and allow the police to investigate if that behavior is innocent or criminal, “ said Agent Marianna Villaescusa in a prepared statement. “It is always better to call and let the police do their job, rather than rationalize suspicious behavior and not call. For example, people loitering in parking lots and peering into cars or trying door handles is absolutely suspicious behavior, and merits a 9-1-1 call right away.” 

If you have information about these auto burglaries call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984

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