One suspicious activity might be someone ringing the doorbell and asking about a lost dog or posing as a utility company employee, a known ruse, police said. If someone answers the door, the doorbell ringer has an excuse for being there. If the bell goes unanswered, it's an opportunity to look for ways to get inside.
So what falls into the category of suspicious activity, and which number should you call? "Suspicious activity can mean many things to different people," Menlo Park Police Department spokeswoman Nicole Acker said. "This is why we encourage residents to talk with their neighbors and be familiar with their surroundings. This communication within the community will help residents identify what is considered 'suspicious' in their eyes."
Police asks residents to call 330-6317 to report an activity that does not represent an emergency, or 330-6300 during business hours. Call 911 for an emergency.
$175,000 in jewels
stolen in Menlo Park
Burglars struck the Sharon Heights neighborhood of Menlo Park four times in early February, with one resident on Continental Drive reporting the theft of jewelry with an estimated value of $175,000, according to reports from the Menlo Park Police Department.
Thieves apparently entered the Continental Drive home through an unlocked sliding glass door, in an incident reported to police on Feb. 5. The jewelry was taken from a dresser drawer, with the interior of the home otherwise undisturbed, police said.
In a home on Siskiyou Drive, a rear door had been pried open leaving significant damage to the deadbolt and door frame, police said. In this case, thieves rifled several drawers and got away with $10 in coins and miscellaneous jewelry, with total losses estimated at $1,710, police said in a Feb. 4 report.
The other two incidents were auto burglaries, both on Sharon Road and reported on the morning of Feb. 2 about 30 minutes apart. In the first case, someone opened a zipper on the convertible top of a Jeep Wrangler and stole a laptop computer, sunglasses, clothing, CDs and $15 in cash, with total losses estimated at $2,525, police said. The thieves may have also damaged a rear fender by standing on it and trying to get in. The fender was "a little loose," the owner reportedly told police.
In the second case, thieves smashed the rear passenger window of a Honda SUV and stole a cell phone, a sleeping bag, food, clothing and a pair of shoes, for a total loss estimated at $980, police said.
Sheriff reports: Checks
stolen from church
Someone walked away with about $20,000 in un-cashed checks, some of them for preschool tuition, at Bethany Lutheran Church at 1095 Cloud Ave. in unincorporated West Menlo Park, according to a Jan. 29 report from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
However, "the checks were all stamped for deposit and we were assured by the bank that they could not be cashed or deposited (in another account)," said Pastor Jon Coyne. "There was no cash loss."
There were no signs of forced entry into the church's main office, deputies said. The investigation is ongoing.
A few blocks away in the 1500 block of Altschul Avenue, someone opened an unlocked vehicle and "removed several items" for a total estimated loss of $1,958, according to a Feb. 2 report. Among the missing items: a golf bag and a complete set of Calloway golf clubs.
In another incident, a stranger was seen opening an unlocked garage door in the 200 block of Leland Avenue, also in West Menlo Park, then getting into a "black compact vehicle" and fleeing northbound after being spotted by the housekeeper, deputies said in a Jan. 31 report.
Elsewhere, someone stole $600 in cash from the Skywood Trading Post cash register at the corner of La Honda Road and Skyline Boulevard, according to a Feb. 1 Sheriff's Office report. The burglar or burglars apparently threw concrete at a middle panel on a plexiglass door. The merchant discovered four pieces of concrete on the floor inside upon arriving in the morning, deputies said. The merchant had activated the alarm the previous evening, they said. Deputies have no leads in the case.
Meanwhile in Ladera, someone stole several power tools with a total value of $2,800 from a residence on La Cuesta Drive, according to a Jan. 30 report.