Resident helps cops nab thieves | January 18, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - January 18, 2012

Resident helps cops nab thieves

by Barbara Wood

Does anyone pay attention to car alarms anymore?

Apparently Menlo Park resident Fred Berghout does, and his attention last month helped the Menlo Park police not only arrest two juveniles accused of breaking into a car, but also to recover all the property they had taken.

Menlo Park Police Chief Bryan Roberts recognized Mr. Berghout's "extraordinary efforts" at the Jan. 10 City Council meeting, giving him and a his family a photo with council members and police officials, and a Menlo PD coffee mug, as souvenirs.

Police say that Mr. Berghout was at home late on the afternoon of Dec. 1 when he went out to investigate a car alarm blaring nearby, at Woodland Avenue and Oak Court.

Once outside, Mr. Berghout first overheard a neighbor on the phone telling police her vehicle was being broken into. Then he saw two young men, one of them with a bag in his hands, near the car.

When Mr. Berghout approached, one of the young men fled and Mr. Berghout followed.

Dropping the bag of loot, the young man climbed a fence and escaped.

Mr. Berghout returned to his neighbor's car, loot in hand to find the Menlo Park police had arrived. Mr. Berghout told the officers what had happened and identified the other 14-year-old suspect in the burglary; who was still nearby.

The next day, using information from that suspect and Mr. Berghout, police were able to identify and arrest the other suspect at school.

"Thanks to Mr. Fred Berghout's quick thinking and courageous actions, two auto burglars were brought to justice and property stolen from his neighbor's vehicle was returned to its owner," Chief Roberts said.