Thieves struck again Thursday night in Atherton as a community meeting on a recent rash of burglaries in town concluded.
At around 8:33 p.m., one or more burglars forced their way into a home on the unit block of Santiago Avenue by smashing a second-story balcony door window, according to an Atherton police press release. This happened around the same time police finished up the community meeting in Holbrook-Palmer Park's Jennings Pavilion, an event that drew about 200 residents.
Burglars set off a security alarm at the Santiago Avenue home as officers were responding to a call of smoke inside a home. This delayed the officers' response to the alarm, according to the release.
“Based upon the methods used by the suspect(s) to gain entry into the residence, investigators believe these may be the same suspects responsible for many of the previous burglaries,” the press release stated. Police don’t yet know whether any items were stolen from the home.
This was the fifth residential burglary reported in January. Earlier this week, there were multiple burglaries and a car theft in a 24-hour period.
Police department data show a dramatic increase in home burglaries in town year-to-year: There were seven home burglaries in 2017 compared with 26 in 2018.
Things began fairly quietly in 2018, but the last two months saw a spike in the number of home burglaries. Five incidents were reported in November and seven were reported in December.
The number of home burglaries in January was higher than any other month of 2017 and 2018, except for November and December 2018.