General Crime

Palo Alto police probe rash of auto burglaries on El Camino Real

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Palo Alto police are investigating five car break-ins on El Camino Real that were reported Friday night and Saturday morning. Between about 9:15 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday, police received reports that windows were smashed and items stolen from inside three cars parked at 3150 El Camino Real and two parked at 4101 El Camino Real, police said. Another car, which was unlocked, was burglarized at 2:15 p.m. Saturday on High Street near Hamilton Avenue, police said. The city typically sees a spike in auto burglaries every few months, police Officer Sean Downey said. “Unfortunately, we get hit, we make an arrest and get hit by another group,” Downey said. Sixty-one auto burglaries were reported in Palo Alto in September alone — the highest number ever recorded for that month since 2008, according to police Detective Sgt. Brian Philip.

Between January and September of this year, the city logged 260 auto burglaries — more than the full-year totals of 239 in 2012; 229 in 2011; and 241 in 2010, Philip said. In most cases, the victims had laptops, cellphones, backpacks or other valuables inside their cars that thieves could see through the window, Downey said. “People left their personal property in plain view,” Downey said. However, he said, it is also not safe to leave items in the trunk, as thieves can smash windows and pop the trunk open from the inside. The best approach is to “take all of your valuable property with you,” Downey said. “If you leave it in the car, is its possible it will be taken.”

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