Mon11242014

News

Jewel thief capitalizing on unguarded LA-area homes

Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies are looking for a stealthy and apparently brazen jewel thief who has taken advantage of local residents who have let down their guard.

The thief, who is linked to similar crimes from Los Altos Hills to Saratoga, has not been seen or heard, yet has managed to make off with tens of thousands of dollars in expensive jewelry, and only jewelry. Sheriff's Detective John Spagnola, assigned to the case, said the thief apparently had strong upper body strength, showing the ability to scale trellises to reach open second-story windows or doors. In virtually all cases, the thief is entering through an open window or door, and often while the residents are at home. The thief also has been able to break into homes while the alarm systems were shut off.

Page Alloo of Los Altos said her residence on Green Hills Court and her neighbors' were both burglarized on May 1. She said other break-ins include houses on Robleda Court and Valley View Road. The latter burglary, on May 2, triggered a high-profile, nighttime spotlight search by a San Jose police helicopter that turned up no trace of the suspect.

"The citizens are getting together because they're frustrated," said Alloo, who was at home watching "West Wing" on television while the thief struck. The suspect rifled through the top dresser drawers in her bedroom, taking pearls but leaving other valuables alone. "He's going after the jewelry, clearly," Alloo said.

The thief may be striking while residents are in because "most don't leave alarms on when home," she said.

Spagnola said last week that he had few clues because the suspect has has been successful so far at not being spotted. "We are looking for possible fingerprints - we found a glove at the last burglary," Spagnola said. "The person may be on a bike. (The suspect) seems to hit houses that are offset from the road. We're trying to do an analysis profile right now."

Spagnola numbered at least six burglaries tied to the suspect. "Three times, the people were home," he said. "Other times, people didn't have their alarms on."

He said partrol deputies are "trying to stay near the (targeted) area to see is anything comes out."

Spagnola advised residents not to leave bathroom windows or doors open for dogs.

"Make sure your alarm's on and tell your neighbors to watch your house (when away)," he suggested. "Put your jewelry in a safe. Most (of the stolen jewelry) was found in drawers."

Those with any information about the crimes should call Spagnola at (408) 867-9721.

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