Police calls: Fraudsters strike, hitting pay dirt twice


These reports are from the Menlo Park Police Department and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent unless convicted. Police received the reports on the dates shown.



Fraud: A stranger called a resident of Ringwood Avenue, told her that her computer had been hacked and directed her to buy Apple and Google gift cards to improve her computer security and to provide the card serial numbers to the caller. Estimated loss: $5,300. May 3.




• A resident of O'Connor Street, after being informed by a stranger that her computer may have a virus, bought a $100 Apple gift card and gave the card's information to the stranger over the phone. She then gave the stranger access to her computer, with which the stranger "somehow" gained access to bank account and made four withdrawals adding up to $304. May 6.

• After discovering that an email exchange involved fraudulent activity, a resident of Yale Road managed to interrupt and stop a wire transfer to a bank account. A stranger had contacted the resident posing as a hired contractor and claiming that the resident owed money. May 3.

Hit-and-run with injury: Police are looking for the driver of a gray Mustang or Camaro who allegedly collided with a pedestrian in a crosswalk at about 2:20 p.m. The pedestrian told police that he considered the vehicle to be stopped, whereupon he crossed the street. After the incident, the driver asked the pedestrian if he was OK and when he said that he was, the driver fled without providing any identification information. The pedestrian suffered a non-life-threatening injury to his leg and did not need medical attention, police said. May 9.

Injury accident: The driver of a Chevrolet Bolt collided with a cyclist who allegedly did not stop for a stop sign at Walnut Street and Central Avenue. The cyclist complained of pain to her back and leg, was treated at the scene and taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. May 7.

Residential burglaries:

• Police arrested and booked a Menlo Park man on suspicion of attempted burglary after the owner of a home on Henderson Avenue allegedly confronted him as he was attempting to break the glass of the home's back door. The man fled, jumping over a fence, but dropped his cellphone. Police used the phone to locate the man at his home, where he was taken into custody. May 9.

• Someone stole a bicycle, a bicycle trailer and bike helmets from an apartment carport on Evelyn Street. Estimated loss: $285. May 8.

Auto burglaries:

• Police in Burlingame arrested and booked into jail two East Bay men on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime after witnesses at Bedwell Bayfront Park at 1600 Marsh Road in Menlo Park had taken a photo of a car in which the suspected burglars were traveling. The men, ages 21 and 25, allegedly smashed a window of a parked vehicle at the park and stole a purse from inside. A county-wide alert went out to police to be on the lookout for a dark-colored BMW 3 series car with yellow dealer plates. Burlingame police confirmed that the vehicle was the one in question, and that the stolen purse was inside. May 2.

• Someone entered an unlocked vehicle parked in the 700 block of University Drive and stole a pair of sunglasses, a watch, a gate-opening device, a coin purse and $75 in gift cards. Estimated loss: $345. May 2.


• A thief stole power tools from an unlocked truck parked at Constitution Drive and Chrysler Drive. Taken were a generator, two rotor hammers, a power-combo toolkit, a Sawzall, a rotary saw and a third saw. Estimated loss: $3,000. May 9.

• Someone stole a locked bike from an apartment complex on Hamilton Avenue. Estimated loss: $3,000. May 6.

• Someone stole an unlocked bike from a bike rack in front of the Safeway supermarket at 525 El Camino Real. Estimated loss: $2,300. April 28.

• A thief entered an open garage on Constitution Drive and stole a backpack containing a laptop, the owner's wallet, and a tablet computer. Estimated loss: $1,500. May 4.

• An unlocked bike was stolen from an apartment complex on Roble Avenue. Estimated loss: $777. May 2.

• A thief stole several rose bushes from in front of a home on Seminary Drive. Estimated loss: $600. May 4.

• Someone stole an unlocked bike from an open garage on Partridge Avenue. Estimated loss: $500. May 6.

• A woman told police that someone removed her wallet from her purse while she was shopping at a Safeway supermarket. Police found the wallet along the 300 block of El Camino Real, and missing $400 in cash. Estimated loss: $450. April 27.

• A thief "forcibly removed" a bicycle from a bike rack at a gated apartment complex on Hamilton Avenue. Estimated loss:$385. May 8.

• Someone stole a backpack that had been left unattended on an outdoor dining table at the Una Mas restaurant on Santa Cruz Avenue. The restaurant was closed at the time, and the backpack's owner had been away for less than two minutes, police said. In the backpack were bicycle-related tools and equipment and a cellphone. Estimated loss: $335. April 30.

• Police are looking for a man and a woman suspected of stealing about $90 worth of alcoholic beverages from the Safeway supermarket at 525 El Camino Real. Police describe the woman as having "medium-colored" skin, in her early 20s, between 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 6 inches tall, about 120 pounds with blonde hair to her shoulders and wearing a tank top and pants. Police describe the man as being "Middle Eastern" in his early 20s with a black beard and wearing a black-and-white shirt with jeans. May 7.

• Police arrested and cited a Menlo Park man on theft charges, alleging that he stole an unlocked bike from in front of a market in the 1300 block of Willow Road. Police say they discovered him riding the bike, stopped him and cited him on a written promise to appear. May 9.

• Someone stole a wallet from an unattended jacket hanging in a locker room in the 500 block of Laurel Street. Estimated loss: $180. April 29.

• A thief stole a package containing a wetsuit from the doorstep of a home on Noel Drive. Estimated loss: $140. May 3.

• Someone stole a package containing a coat from in front of a home on Cambridge Avenue. Estimated loss: $80. May 4.



Attempted theft: Someone opened several unlocked vehicles and several mailboxes along Grove Court. No reported losses. May 3.

Vandalism: A resident of Corte Madera Road told deputies that someone opened the resident's vehicle by means unknown and rifled through the glove box and arm-rest compartment. No reported losses. May 3.


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Dave Boyce

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Like this comment
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 15, 2018 at 10:24 pm

When are people going to learn that if anyone is asking for a prepaid gift card they are a scammer and not legitimate. It is a pretty simple relation: "Gift Card = Scam". I know these scum target people who may not be at the top of their game but that is a pretty simple rule. Maybe stores should post signs where they sell gift cards warning people and have the employees casually inquire about the card if the person is getting a high value card and looks like they may be at risk

8 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 15, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Pedestrians are not safe in crosswalks downtown.
I have almost been hit at least on two occasions.
I have received and observed pedestrians also getting the attitude when they start to cross (drivers just cutting off pedestrians that have started to cross or inching their cars very close while they are crossing.

I also would appreciate if MP police could crack down on speeding on University between Middle and Santa Cruz (especially during rush hours).

With street parking removed, drivers speed up to 35-45 mph and ignore pedestrians trying to cross University legally. Mot to speak of children riding in the bike lane there.

Do we need to have a serious accident there before the law is actually enforced?

Like this comment
Posted by Steve_J
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Steve_J is a registered user.

People are easy marks. The frauds can be published and published and there will be someone who falls for it.

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

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