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News

Burglary bump in LAH alarms residents and Sheriff's Office

Los Altos Hills has recorded fewer burglaries than the national and state averages over the past decade, but this year the number of breaking-and-entering crimes has spiked.

Since July 1, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has recorded 14 resid...

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Schools

Community support pays dividends

Community support pays dividends


As a recent cover story in The New York Times Magazine revealed, getting low-income students into college is not enough to close the achievement/income gap. The percentage of low-income students entering college who actually earn a degree lags far ...

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Community

War veteran to visit D.C. memorial on Honor Flight

War veteran to visit D.C. memorial on Honor Flight


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos resident and World War II vet Earl Pampeyan is preparing for an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., next month.

Los Altos resident Earl Pampeyan is scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C., next month to vis...

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Sports

Making a splash

Making a splash


Courtesy of Clarke Weatherspoon
Stanford Water Polo Club’s under-14 boys team earned the bronze medal at the Junior Olympics. Front row, from left: Corey Tanis, Larsen Weigle, Nathan Puentes, Walker Seymour, Alan Viollier and Jayden Kunwar. B...

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Comment

Whom can you trust?: Haugh About That?

Waving my pink poodle skirt with all the fervor of a matador preparing to tease a raging bull, I blinked my 20-year-old eyes and gave a come-hither look to indicate, “I’m ready!” Little did I know that the blind trust I had in this ...

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Special Sections

Getting right by eating right: PAMF doctor's book addresses South Asian health risks

Getting right by eating right: PAMF doctor's book addresses South Asian health risks


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Ronesh Sinha, a physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, promotes healthful living among the South Asian population. His new book, “The South Asian Health Solution,” includes nutritious recipes.

When you think o...

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Business

From Google to First Street: Massage therapist sets up studio in downtown Los Altos

From Google to First Street: Massage therapist sets up studio in downtown Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Upuia Ahkiong is slated to open Kua Body Studios next month at 106 First St. Ahkiong is sharing space with Evolve Classical Pilates.

A massage therapist with ties to Google Inc. is slated to open a new – and shared...

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Books

"Jack London" chronicles author's adventurous life


Much has been written about American author Jack London, primarily known for his early-20th-century Western adventure novels, including the classics “White Fang” and “The Call of the Wild.”

In Earle Labor’s biography of the literary icon, “Jac...

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People

TIMOTHY WARREN WATSON (TIM)

TIMOTHY WARREN WATSON (TIM)

Born June 2, 1935, died peacefully on August 11, at home in Mountain View, surrounded by his family. He died of complications of Parkinson’s Disease after a courageous 15-year battle.

Tim was the beloved husband of 55 years to his college sweethea...

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Travel

Bergama bound: A visit to newest World Heritage site

Bergama bound: A visit to newest World Heritage site


Photo Eren GÖknar/ Special to the Town Crier
The amphitheater in Turkey’s ancient city of Pergamon, now known as Bergama, overlooks the Bakirçay River valley, left. The city’s ruins also include the Temple of Trajan.

It was 90 F during t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks offers 'Spoonful' of drama beginning this week

TheatreWorks offers 'Spoonful' of drama beginning this week


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Three strangers – “Chutes & Ladders” (Anthony J. Haney, left), Odessa (Zilah Mendoza, center) and “Orangutan” (Anna Ishida, right) – come together in an online support group in TheatreWorks’ regional premie...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Briefs

Meditation group meets at Foothills Congregational

A Weekly Meditation Practice group meets 7-8:15 a.m. Tuesdays at Foothills Congregational Church, 461 Orange Ave., Los Altos.

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Burglar makes cash withdrawal once too often

A local burglar who decided to make regular cash withdrawals from a Los Altos family's Queensbury Avenue home ended up in handcuffs June 17 following an elaborate sting.

Former neighborhood resident Troy Smith apparently discovered that an unlocked garage door provided easy access to the family's kitchen and to a flow of cash in a purse regularly left in the room unattended. The 20-year-old habitually began stopping by the house allegedly to steal cash from the woman's purse over the course of four months.

Police believe he could have burglarized the home as many as eight times, taking as much as $800 since March. Smith, who lives in Mountain View, admitted to police that he had taken cash from the home on several occasions. The family said he would sometimes hit the house twice in the same week, always late at night.

The family never suspected a stranger was breaking into their home.

He never took credit cards, the cell phone or car keys that were in the purse alongside the cash, family members said. The family puppy that sleeps in a bed in the kitchen never barked, they added.

"I just never did think it was a burglar. The funny thing is a (family member) said, 'Maybe it's a burglar.' I told her, 'Don't be silly,'" said one family member, who wished to remain anonymous.

The family said they would notice money missing as often as two to three times per week, but it took them a while to determine that it was happening late at night while they were asleep in the house.

The only reasonable explanation they could come up with was that someone in the family had been taking cash from the purse without asking.

The husband decided to set a trap. He purchased an infrared video camera June 15 and set it up on the kitchen counter at night. To the couple's surprise, when they checked the camera the following day the image revealed an unknown intruder removing the wallet from the purse.

"You could clearly see a guy walk in the door from the garage, take the wallet, disappear back into the garage for about 60 seconds and put the wallet back into the purse," the couple said. The couple said they believe Smith, whom they had never met, may have spotted the purse through the window while walking down the street and decided to try his luck at gaining access into the house.

The family had grown accustomed to leaving the garage and kitchen doors unlocked.

"We're so trusting living here. We didn't think anything bad would happen," family members said.

The following night the couple locked the door to the house and set up the video camera in the garage. Meanwhile, police installed a silent electronic alarm wired to the department.

The couple waited up until 1 a.m. About five minutes after they retired to the bedroom, they heard a car on their typically quiet street.

Smith had returned for more cash for the second night in a row. The camera set up in the garage signaled the couple's computer in the bedroom.

They called the police, but an unmarked car was already there.

Smith, unable to enter the now locked house, casually walked out of the garage, unaware that he had walked into a trap.

Police caught him in his car down the street.

His shoes had traces of a fluorescent powder that police had left on the floor as part of the trap.

He was booked into the San Jose Main Jail on two felony counts of burglary.

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