Car theft: Recent crimes and how to prevent them

Although the vast majority of stolen vehicles recovered in Los Altos were taken from surrounding cities, the city’s police department is still stressing how important it is for residents to lock their cars and hide any valuables inside.


LAPD Sgt. Ryan Burke said CrimeReports shows a handful of stolen vehicles and thefts from vehicles in Los Altos in recent months. However, incidents such as a vehicle discovered Aug. 1 on Second Street (stolen from San Jose) and another found Aug. 11 at the intersection of Grant Road and Foothill Expressway (stolen from the Salinas area) are proof of a crime local law enforcement continuously sees: vehicle stops that lead to identifying and apprehending a suspect occupying someone else’s car after officers run the license plate.

The police department released its latest Crime Prevention News Sept. 11 with “Prevent Car Break-Ins” topping the newsletter. The first tip? “Always lock your doors and close your windows.”

Burke said many incidents of theft of or from vehicles result from leaving the doors unlocked. Locking doors and making sure the alarm is operational, if the car has one, are the first steps in preventing what the department calls “a crime of opportunity.” That’s how a theft that occurred on Marvin Avenue Sept. 2 could have been prevented, Burke added.

The Crime Prevention News also reminds residents to hide valuables such as wallets, cellphones, purses and shopping bags. If valuables must remain in the car, stash them in a hidden area like the trunk. Hide the valuables before arriving at your destination in case thieves are watching you and your car.

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Suspect steals car from LA, crashes in SJ early this morning

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man who stole a car from unincorporated Los Altos, took it for a joyride and crashed it in downtown San Jose just after 5 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 4) morning, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. 

LA police reach out to SJPD in music teacher case

e Los Altos Police Department is not conducting an independent investigation into allegations against local music teacher Christopher Florio, officers are in contact with San Jose Police detectives – who arrested Florio Aug. 16 – to see if children here may have fallen victim to alleged inappropriate acts. Florio led California Youth Symphony rehearsals held at Almond School.

Hills resident attacked during home invasion robbery

An 83-year-old Los Altos Hills woman sustained minor injuries during a robbery of her home Thursday (Aug. 23), according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

Three male suspects remained at large as of Friday morning, but detectives are actively investigating the case and soliciting tips and home video surveillance footage from neighbors of the targeted residence, located in the 27000 block of Altamont Road near Black Mountain Road, said Captain Rich Urena of the West Valley Division. That intersection is less than 500 feet from Westwind Community Barn.

Los Altos Hills robbery
Courtesy of Google Maps

The resident’s gardener arrived soon after the suspects fled and called 911 at 11:10 a.m. Thursday, according to Urena, and the first sheriff’s deputy arrived within 4 minutes.

The resident told detectives she was home alone when she heard a noise in her house and went to investigate, according to Urena. She encountered three intruders: a Hispanic male in his 20s and two men she could not describe because they were wearing full face masks. They attacked her and then fled with numerous items ransacked from the home.

“She was a little, as you can imagine, traumatized,” Urena said.

Emergency responders treated the resident for injuries to her face caused when the suspects struck her with their hands, according to Urena.

Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in area between 8 and 11:15 a.m. is asked call detectives at (408) 808-4500 and reference case number 18-235-0168. Remain anonymous by calling the tip line at (408) 808-4431.

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Former LA firefighter named county fire chief

The Santa Clara County Fire Department’s new chief has Los Altos roots.

Tony Bowden, who started his new job Aug. 13, began his career with the Los Altos Fire Department in 1996. He served Los Altos and Los Altos Hills for less than a year before the fire department merged into a county service by the end of ’96.

Mtn. View publicizes traffic statistics

The Mountain View Police Department last month rolled out an effort to alert residents to traffic incidents by issuing weekly enforcement reports and introducing an initiative designed to give a behind-the-scenes look at everyday police work.


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