Elementary school hit in latest string of Atherton burglaries


Someone stole $14,000 worth of electronics from Encinal Elementary School in Atherton during the first weekend of December, one of the latest in a series of burglaries police are now calling a crime wave.

The thief smashed a window to get into the Atherton school and took six laptops and eight iPads from a classroom sometime between Dec. 1 and 3, according to police and the Menlo Park City School District. There are no security cameras at the school, police said.

All the iPads and a computer with specialized software were replaced, district public information officer Parke Treadway wrote in a Dec. 11 email. "The district is insured for the loss, and teaching was able to continue uninterrupted," she wrote.

"Our safety and security protocols have been reviewed," she wrote. "Fortunately the crime happened on a weekend and no one was hurt."

There were four other burglaries in the last week that may all be related, Atherton police Sgt. Anthony Kockler said in a Dec. 11 email.

"Unfortunately, none have been solved," Kockler wrote. "We are trying our best to determine the person or persons responsible for them."

There was also a string of residential burglaries around Thanksgiving. In one incident, someone stole roughly $225,000 worth of jewelry.

Incidents in the last week

Someone cut a chain lock to break into a home construction site on Adam Way on the night of Dec. 4, taking construction equipment and home speakers.

Another burglary happened at a home on Melanie Lane sometime between the evening of Dec. 5 and morning of Dec. 6. Someone took patio furniture and smashed a window to get into the house, taking $20,290 worth of items, according to police.

Between Dec. 2 and Dec. 7, someone entered a house on James Avenue through a broken glass door on the second story and stole $700.

Someone broke into a home on Barry Lane on Dec. 9 through a glass pane window on the second floor and “ransacked the master bedroom,” according to police. Police aren’t sure how much the items taken are worth.

Safety tips

Police have released a list of safety tips to prevent burglaries during the holidays:

1) Leave interior and exterior lights on when you aren't going to be home at night, and leave exterior lights on when you are home in the evening.

2) Make sure your alarm system is functioning properly and that it's activated while you're away.

3) Consider installing security cameras.

4) If you will be away, notify your neighbors so they can keep an eye on your home, and stop your mail and newspaper delivery.

5) Ask the Atherton Police Department to do checks on your home while you're on vacation.

6) Don't post about vacation plans on social media.


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