Police calls: Safeway employee helps 86-year-old man sidestep fraud


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.




• An employee of the Safeway supermarket at 525 El Camino Real talked an 86-year-old man out of buying $2,500 in gift cards. The man was prepared to wire the money to a caller who told him that his computer had a virus and that the caller, who claimed to be an Apple employee, could remove the virus after the transfer of money. No losses. Dec. 19.

• Someone wired a deposit to an online address in response to what turned out to be a false advertisement for an apartment to rent on Live Oak Avenue. Estimated loss: $2,660. Dec. 19.

Appropriation of lost property: A woman withdrew some cash from her account using an ATM machine in the 800 block of Willow Road, but she forgot to pick up the cash and someone else took it. Dec. 14.

Commercial burglary:

• Police are looking for two suspects accused of breaking a window at LensCrafters at 700 El Camino Real and stealing merchandise, an inventory list of which was not yet available. Dec. 17.

• Someone cut through a fence at Extra Space Storage at 1520 Willow Road and broke into a storage unit there. It's yet not known if anything was taken. Dec 22.

Residential burglary: In a case from September 2018 that East Palo Alto police handled because Menlo Park officers were not available, someone entered a home on Carlton Avenue and stole three laptop computers, a phone charger and a framed picture. Estimated loss: $3,240. Dec. 17.

Auto burglaries:

• Someone broke into a vehicle parked in the 3700 block of Haven Avenue and stole a purse. Estimated loss: $300. Dec. 24.

• Using unknown means, someone entered a locked vehicle parked on Coleman Place and stole a checkbook, a pair of shoes and $50 in cash. Dec. 24.


• Thieves stole four bicycles recently: two from Hillview School on Elder Avenue, one from an apartment in the 3600 block of Haven Avenue, and one from a carport on Live Oak Avenue. One bike was locked, one was unlocked and the state of the other two was unknown. Estimated losses: $5,000, $600, $1,100 and unknown. Dec. 20, 19, 19 and 24.

• Someone stole a generator from the side yard of a home on Bieber Avenue. Estimated loss: $1,200. Dec. 18.

• A thief stole a vehicle registration card and a pair of sunglasses from an unlocked vehicle parked on Coleman Avenue. No estimate on losses. Dec. 17.

• Someone stole lenses from LensCrafters at 700 El Camino Real. No estimate on losses. Dec. 17.

• Police arrested and booked into jail a 23-year-old San Francisco man on suspicion of shoplifting and assault and battery. The man allegedly stole drinks from the 7-Eleven at 525 Oak Grove Ave., threw a drink at an employee there and attempted to punch the employee. Dec. 18.

• A doorbell camera was reported stolen from a resident of Sevier Avenue. The camera was found discarded a block away. Dec. 22.

• Police arrested, cited and released a 54-year-old man on suspicion of shoplifting beer and batteries from the Safeway supermarket at 525 El Camino Real. All of the merchandise was recovered. Dec. 24.

• Someone stole an inflatable Christmas decoration from the front yard of a home in the 200 block of Willow Road. Estimated loss: $50. Dec. 18.

Brandishing: Police cited and released to his family a boy accused of brandishing a knife at the 7-Eleven at 525 Oak Grove Ave. Dec. 14.



Residential burglaries:

• Someone broke through a glass door at the rear of a home on Knoll Vista Avenue and ransacked the interior. It's not known if anything was taken. An investigation is underway. Dec. 19.

• Burglars broke through a glass door at the rear of a home on Monte Vista Avenue and stole items from the master bedroom, though it's not known what they stole. An investigation is underway. Dec. 20.



Auto burglaries: Three vehicles were reported burglarized in the 3000 block of Woodside Road, all entered via shattered windows. Stolen were two laptop computers and a briefcase. Estimated losses: $3,000, $1000 and $100. Dec. 17.



Residential burglaries:

• Someone entered a home on Crescent Avenue via an unlocked side door and stole a laptop computer and "numerous miscellaneous items." No estimate on losses. Dec. 12.

• A burglar shattered a window in a rear door of a home on Cervantes Road, entered the home and stole several laptop computers. No estimate on losses. Dec. 20.

Auto burglary: A resident of the 4400 block of Alpine Road informed deputies of the theft of a Bluetooth stereo system from the resident's vehicle. The resident could not recall whether the vehicle was locked. Estimated loss: $400. Dec. 14.

Exhibition of speed: Based on observation of a vehicle leaving "large skid marks" in the roadway at Alpine and Portola roads, a deputy cited and released a 20-year-old Portola Valley resident who admitted to the deputy that he had created a "burn out." Dec. 19.


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Dave Boyce

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