News - October 8, 2008

Wave of property crimes strikes Menlo Park

by Dave Boyce

Twenty-one property crimes were reported in Menlo Park between Saturday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 5, according to police department logs. About half of the 17 burglaries and four thefts occurred in neighborhoods near U.S. 101, with the rest spread throughout the city.

The thieves got away with a variety of items, including construction materials and tools, six laptop computers, a catalytic converter, musical instruments and four bicycles, according to the log of the Menlo Park Police Department.

The crime wave peaked Wednesday, Oct. 1, when seven burglaries were reported, including an attempt on a residence on Crane Street; four incidents in the Flood Triangle neighborhood that netted a bike, laptop computer and video games; a vehicle burglary of electronic devices on Roble Avenue; and the loss of a Canadian-made racing bike from a locked garage on Gilbert Avenue.

Thieves broke in and stole five laptop computers from the Sand Hill Road campus of Trinity School, a private elementary school associated with St. Bede's and Holy Trinity churches in Menlo Park, according to a report for Tuesday, Sept. 30.

A burglary at a construction site on Windermere Avenue in the Belle Haven neighborhood resulted in a loss estimated at $5,000, which included several electric saws, a screw gun, pressure drills, and battery chargers, said Nicole Acker, spokeswoman for the Menlo Park Police Department.

That same day, a 12-string guitar and a Martin guitar were reported stolen from a vehicle on Coleman Avenue in the Vintage Oaks neighborhood, she said.

The term "theft" applies when the item stolen does not involve breaking into a building or vehicle. Breaking-and-entering makes the crime a burglary.

Using a saw to cut a catalytic converter from a vehicle's exhaust system would be theft; breaking a window on that same vehicle and reaching in to steal a purse would be burglary. If the vehicle was unlocked and the thief opened the door to steal the purse, that is theft.

Most of the recent burglaries are happening between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Ms. Acker said, adding: "Most burglaries are done through unlocked windows or doors."

The poor economy is a factor in rising property crime, she said, and the targets tend to be items such as GPS devices and that can quickly be sold. She advises against leaving valuables exposed in vehicles, and unlocked entrances at unoccupied homes and offices.

The police are preparing a statement for the community that will include advice on how to prevent property crime, Ms. Acker said.

Regarding this latest spree, police discussed each incident in morning and evening briefings, after which the cases went to the investigation unit for analysis, she said.


Posted by sammy davis, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 8, 2008 at 8:38 am

No! It is not the "poor economy".
It is police dept. here in Menlo.
Hiding behind a Oak tree on a motorcycle with a radar gun is not patrolling.

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