Police calls: Atherton resident rejects ransom demand to restore computer


These reports are from the Menlo Park and Atherton police departments 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.




• A resident of El Camino Real told police that someone accessed her computer, installed ransomware that locked up the computer, and demanded payment of either $299 or $600 using a Google Play card before releasing the computer. The resident did not pay the ransom, but took her computer to a repair facility. June 20.

• A resident of Selby Lane, following instructions related to a check sent to her in the mail, cashed the check using her personal bank account, bought $3,000 in gift cards and emailed the gift card information as instructed. Estimated loss: $3,798. July 6.

Medical aid call: A cyclist fell from his bike and suffered multiple fractures, torn ligaments and tendons on his left elbow, pain in both wrists and a cut on his nose that caused "severe swelling" after an encounter with a dog that had run into the roadway at Flood Circle. A pedestrian had been walking two dogs in the easement there when one of them got its leash tangled in some shrubbery. While the pedestrian was untangling the leash, the other dog ran into the road and startled the cyclist, who applied the front brakes and was ejected from the bike. July 1.


• A resident of Mount Vernon Lane put two envelopes in his mailbox for pickup by the mail carrier, but the carrier told him that, though the envelopes were gone, he (the mail carrier) had not seen the mail. June 18.

• Someone may have stolen mail from a mailbox on Mercedes Lane. June 29.



Fraud: A resident of Westridge Drive told deputies that a group of men may have been posing as a crew from a legitimate business involved in paving. June 28.



Auto burglary: Someone stole a purse after smashing a rear passenger window of a vehicle parked at the Dish parking lot at Alpine Road and Piers Lane. June 24.



Assault with a deadly weapon: Police arrested and booked a transient man on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, making threats and trespassing after the man allegedly swung a lunchbox at the face of a security officer on the campus of SRI International at 333 Ravenswood Ave. The man allegedly hopped a 6-foot fence to enter the campus and verbally threatened the security officer. The attempt to hit the officer with the lunchbox failed, police said. June 29.

Robbery: Police are looking for a thinly built black man about 6 feet tall and in his mid-20s in connection with a robbery in the vicinity of Independence Drive and Chrysler Drive. A man was walking to his vehicle with his cellphone in one hand and a paycheck in the other when the suspect approached from behind. He tried to grab the paycheck, was unsuccessful and grabbed the cellphone instead and ran off. The victim fell and cut his hand trying to break his fall. He noted to police that the robber did not physically assault him, nor did he brandish any weapons. Police say the suspect has short black hair and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black jeans. July 2.

Embezzlement: Stanford Hotel management discovered about $3,100 missing from the employees' cash till. Management confronted a suspect employee who entered into an agreement to return the money in a matter of weeks, but the employee did not show up for his next shift. June 30.

Fraud: A man approached a woman in the vicinity of the Bank of America at 633 Santa Cruz Ave. and asked her if she had a bank account and if she could help his sister in cashing a check for $4,752 because his account was overdrawn. The woman cooperated, cashed the check and handed the cash to the sister. July 3.

Residential burglaries:

• A man claiming to be a construction worker knocked at the door of a home on Valparaiso Avenue and asked the resident if he could come in and check water flow in connection with what he said were damaged water pipes at a nearby house. While inside and while the resident was distracted, the man entered several rooms and stole jewelry valued at $15,000 from a jewelry box. The resident told police that an hour had elapsed before she noticed the missing jewelry. Police are looking for a Hispanic man in his mid-20s with black hair and wearing a dark shirt with orange reflective lines on it. June 27.

• Someone attempted to break in to an apartment on Windermere Avenue by removing window screens and trying to slide open the windows. June 29.

Auto burglaries:

• Someone stole two bicycles from a rack attached to the back of an SUV parked on Carlton Avenue. Estimated loss: $12,000. June 26.

• A thief stole a laptop, a hard drive and a bag of other items after breaking into a vehicle parked in the 1100 block of El Camino Real by smashing a rear driver's side window. Estimated loss: $2,000.

• Using means that did not involve force, someone entered a vehicle parked on Haven Avenue and stole a backpack containing a laptop and a gym bag containing headphones, shoes, shorts and a shirt. Estimated loss: $980. June 28.

• Someone smashed a window on a vehicle parked at Bedwell Bayfront Park on Marsh Road and stole a purse, including the wallet inside. Estimated loss: $200. June 30.


• Someone stole a backpack from a locked locker at 500 Laurel St. Inside the backpack were the man's wallet, his clothing and a cellphone. There were no signs of forced entry. Estimated loss: $1,425. June 23.

• A thief entered an unlocked vehicle parked on Windermere Avenue and stole a purse containing credit cards, a driver's license and $1,200 in cash. Estimated loss: $1,250. July 2.

• Someone stole two unlocked bicycles from the backyard of an apartment complex on Roble Avenue. Estimated loss: $1,085. June 27.

• Four wheel rims with tires and a vehicle rear spoiler were stolen from the Chevron gas station at 1110 Marsh Road. Estimated loss: $1,000. June 29.

• Someone entered an unlocked vehicle parked on Haven Avenue and stole miscellaneous items and $40 in cash. Estimated loss: $400. June 28.

• A thief entered two unlocked vehicles parked on Cotton Street and stole a baseball-equipment bag, gloves, sunglasses, flip-flops, a swimsuit and two jackets. Estimated loss: $321. July 1.

• A woman sitting at a table at Cafe Borrone at 1010 El Camino Real told police that someone stole her wallet from her purse, which had been hanging on the back of her chair. Estimated loss: $118. June 29.

• Police arrested and released three juveniles to their parents on charges of attempted theft and conspiracy to commit a crime in connection with an alleged attempt to steal bicycles from Facebook. The three put down the bikes when Facebook employees confronted them, then fled when police arrived. Police found them hiding behind a nearby vehicle. June 26.

Vandalism: Someone poured an unknown sticky substance onto the door handles at Menlo Park Ace Hardware at 700 Santa Cruz Ave. The doors were undamaged and the substance was easily washed off, police said. June 22.


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Dave Boyce

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