Almanac

News - May 18, 2011

Atherton: Rash of thievery hits unlocked vehicles

by Dave Boyce

The Atherton police have been busy. The blotter for Monday, May 9, shows 10 cases of theft or attempted theft and 10 more cases of police investigating suspicious circumstances.

Three more thefts were reported on Tuesday, May 10, Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department told the Almanac in an e-mail. Police are looking at the El Camino Real corridor as the thief's or thieves' preferred locale, Lt. Wade said.

The three incidents listed for May 10 include the thefts of gift cards from two unlocked vehicles on Lloyden Drive, cash and an Apple iPod from an unlocked vehicle on Normandy Lane, and a license plate and its frame from a vehicle on Fair Oaks Lane.

The first theft on May 9 was reported at 12:45 a.m. and the reports continued until shortly after noon. Police consider them to be related, Lt. Wade said. All 10 involved unlocked vehicles.

Only two cases involved actual theft; the most expensive item stolen was a GPS unit, Lt. Wade said. Eight cases showed nothing stolen, but in six cases vehicles were ransacked, Lt. Wade said.

Three thefts came to the attention of the police because an officer noticed a vehicle with its interior dome light on.

Of the 10 suspicious-circumstance incidents, officers initiated seven, while the other three were based on calls to the department.

All 10 thefts were listed as petty, meaning that the estimated value of the items stolen would not or do not add up to more than $400. Both petty theft and attempted petty theft are misdemeanors, meaning that if the thief is caught and convicted, he or she could go to jail for not more than a year.

In two theft reports, police found discarded property such as a purse that could have been thrown away in connection with an actual theft. If police learn of a link between the found property and an incident, they can elevate the incident to theft from attempted theft.

Police are advising residents to lock their vehicles and to not leave valuables in sight.

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