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A routine traffic stop in Palo Alto on Friday afternoon led to the arrests of three men suspected of burglarizing a home earlier that day, police said. Police received a report of a burglary around 1:45 p.m. Friday in the 2400 block of Agnes Way, where a resident had returned to find the home ransacked. Officers responded to the home and determined that one or more intruders had entered the home’s side yard through an unlocked gate, then cut through a window screen, according to police.
The resident reported that several items were stolen, including a man’s watch, jewelry and electronics worth more than $10,000, according to police. Just before 2:10 p.m., a Palo Alto police officer pulled over a car on Oregon Expressway at Middlefield Road for a vehicle code violation. During the stop, the officer smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the car and detained its three occupants for questioning, police said. After learning that one of the occupants, 31-year-old Hector Jose Sandoval, of Hayward, was on probation in Alameda County for vehicle theft and domestic violence, the officer conducted a probation search, police said.
During the search, the officer found a man’s watch matching the description of the watch stolen from the home on Agnes Way, police said. The officer also found potential burglary tools, police said. Further investigation led police to recover all of the property that was stolen from the home. Police arrested Sandoval, 20-year-old Gilbert Garcia, and Israel Aguilar, 35, both of East Palo Alto, on suspicion of residential burglary, possession of stolen property, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools. All three were booked into Santa Clara County Jail.
The arrests follow an increase in daytime residential burglaries in Palo Alto that began last month, police said. In response to the trend, police have made preventing and solving burglaries a top priority, and have launched the “Lock It or Lose It” campaign to educate the public on how to prevent break-ins and report suspicions behavior. More crime prevention tips can be found on the Palo Alto Police Department’s website at www.cityofpaloalto.org/StopCrime.
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