Armed man invades Atherton home


A man armed with a gun and a knife got away with some $322,000 in jewelry and watches after invading an occupied house in the 200 block of Atherton Avenue in Atherton and confronting the residents shortly after 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, police said.

The residents, a couple in their 60s, managed to escape the house without injury and drive to the police station, Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department said in a telephone interview.

Police responded to the scene in force and with a police dog, and set up a perimeter, but the robber was gone, Lt. Wade said. It's not clear where the burglar entered the house or how he got to the second floor, he said.

The residents described the man as slender, 18 to 25 years old, and wearing a black mask. Both victims said the suspect spoke with "a heavy Spanish accent," Lt. Wade said.

The investigation continues but with a special urgency: The burglar invaded an occupied dwelling.

"Everyone takes it more seriously when there's someone in the house," Lt. Wade said. "Property crimes happen all the time and people burglarize houses every day throughout the state," but burglars willing to enter an occupied house "are a much smaller group."

The incident unfolded as the husband was climbing the stairs after his wife told him she had heard a noise upstairs. While on the stairs, he met the burglar, who then grabbed the husband and demanded money, Lt. Wade said.

The wife made a run for it and had started the car when her husband ran out and joined her. He had bargained with the burglar by offering him $100 in cash, and escaped somehow, Lt. Wade said.

"As frightening as the situation was, they were both able to handle themselves very well," Lt. Wade said.

Near a fence in the yard, police found a laptop computer and a model car stolen from the house and lying in the grass. In an adjacent property, they found a knife and a pellet gun believed to have been used in the crime.


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Posted by Wow
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm

A perfect example of why we need our own police department and cannot short sightedly look at costs. I'm sure these homeowners were reassured by the fact that Atherton has its own police force who was able to keep them safe.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Wow -

"(a)ble to keep them safe?"

These residents were the victims of an armed robber in their own home!!!

The goal of successful policing is PREVENTION not INTERRUPTION.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm


this is not a reason for your own police department. with as little as APD has to do there shouldn't be any of these types of crimes in your town. Lets see who actually investigates this crime - can you say San Mateo County Sheriff's Department?

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Posted by JeffS
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 31, 2012 at 8:14 am

JeffS is a registered user.

If you think policing is sucessful when is preventative (whatever the hell that means, you want the police to arrest people BEFORE they commit crimes?), then you have missed the point. You also don't understand that police work does not attract the brightest people.
Usually powerless thugs who want to push people around become cops.
Oh yeah, there's a fair amount that actually want to be cops, but in my experience, most of them just like being paid bullies.
All cops can do is respond to crime, they cant prevent it, and if you think they can, you are deluding yourself.
And if they did prevent crime, I can promise you will be screaming about civil rights being violated.

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Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:16 am

Robert D. is a registered user.

Nice comment " You also don't understand that police work does not attract the brightest people."
What do you understand to be the brightest people?
Is it Education? If so, check your facts when it comes to Atherton Police. Masters Degrees are held by several. Last Chief had a PhD and for a small department he has not been the only one.
Is it IQ - well, again check your facts before you comment.
Now I am not the biggest supporter of APD, but facts need to be viewed in light of comments.

I do agree with you when the Cops prevent a crime - many times people question civil rights being violated regardless of the evidence.

This town is crewed up from a political stand point - BIG TIME. We all see the arguing and the high turn over, etc. I agree with te comments - hire the San Mateo County Sheriff to take over - it cost less and if the residents agree to pay the same - then their level of service would be higher - time for that discussion later.

Good news is - no one was hurt. Very smart victims and yes the bad guy got away with a lot of $$$ but no one was hurt.

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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:35 am

pogo is a registered user.

JeffS -

I can only speak for Woodside where the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department is responsible for policing our neighborhoods. I know most of the deputies who patrol our town and they are some of the sharpest, nicest, most professional people I have ever met. I have no words of criticism for them.

With regard to your comment refuting the objective of policing being
"prevention not interruption," you clearly demonstrate incredible ignorance. You should ask any police agency - interruption is one step away from failure. Success is defined as a LOW CRIME RATE, not the number of interrupted robberies. And that is due to a police agency's presence, visibility, reputation, professionalism and cooperation with its citizens.

That's what prevents crime.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


Clearly you don't have a clue about police work.

First of all I wasn't a "powerless thug" before I became a police officer. I did so because I wanted to serve.

Second - I think I'm actually fairly intelligent. Most of the command staff in the department I was in had Masters degrees. ONe of the chiefs I worked for had a PhD. So your characterization of cops as unintelligent is clearly wrong.

Third - if you don't think the police can prevent crimes, pull all the cops off the street, remove all the marked cars and watch what happens. As POGO so aptly put it, "...a police agency's presence, visibility, reputation, professionalism and cooperation with its citizens" are what prevent crime.

Fourth - if you actually want to learn what real police officers do, not some fancifull notion that's in your head, go on a ride along with a police department and see for yourself what they ACTUALLY do.

Don't beleive everything you think.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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