Residents play connect-the-burglaries on Nextdoor

auto burglaries
Courtesy of Indy Chohan
Mountain View resident Indy Chohan posted his personal home security video on Nextdoor during a discussion on how car burglaries were not only widespread between his hometown and Los Altos, but also about how residents who had their property stolen could have been scammed by the same suspects on late Thursday night/early Friday morning. In the video, you can see two suspects grab the garage door opener from Chohan's unlocked car and hand off a toolbox before leaving toward Leona Lane.

The Los Altos Police Department is investigating 16 thefts from vehicles and residential garages reported Friday.

Residents on Nextdoor believe the burglaries could be related to a series of burglaries in Mountain View that occurred just hours before.

The thieves appear to have struck overnight Nov. 30, breaking into vehicles in several Los Altos neighborhoods. Residents reported five burglaries on the 1600 block of Christina Drive, two on Tiptoe Lane, two on the 1300 block of Oakhurst Avenue and one each on the 1400 block of Truman Avenue, the 1600 block of Elmhurst Drive, Heritage Court, Awalt Court, the 1600 block of Fallen Leaf Lane, the 1200 block of Payne Drive and Loma Prieta Court.

Of the incidents reported, not all of the vehicles were missing property, according to Los Altos Police Capt. Scott McCrossin. However, in every case, the suspects targeted unlocked cars. Some of the victims had garage door openers in their cars, allowing the suspects to access their respective garages and steal more property.

Los Altos victims of the burglaries connected the dots, suspecting that the thieves were the same ones that hit the Cuesta Park neighborhood of Mountain View around the same time.

The information soon snowballed, with Mountain View firefighter Duncan McKenzie posting on Nextdoor that his unlocked car was rummaged through. The suspects stole two of McKenzie’s Mountain View Fire Department pullovers, with his name embroidered on them.

“By the way, sounds like they stole your shirts to impersonate Mountain View fire … not good,” wrote resident Lucie Newcomb on Nextdoor.

Loyola Corners resident Rana Davis posted about suspects with “the same M.O.,” pointed out another user.

Cuesta Park homeowner Indy Chohan posted his footage from Drucilla Drive, depicting two men opening his car, finding the garage door opener and stealing a toolbox out of the garage. Chohan estimated the time of incident to be 12:04 a.m.

More residents chimed in after Chohan’s post.

“Friday, 2 a.m., the same clowns hit Nancy Lane (in Mountain View),” Loyola Corners resident Jef Rogers said. “We have Nest footage that isn’t great but shows one of them.”

A Heritage Oaks Park homeowner who preferred to remain unnamed posted images from her security camera of two men – seemingly the same pair shown in Chohan’s video – opening her husband’s unlocked car. They stole his sunglasses and moved on to her car, but it was locked. The resident said her footage, filmed around 1:35 a.m., revealed a driver as well as the two other men.

Police have yet to establish a link between the burglaries. ­­­As of Tuesday afternoon, McCrossin was consulting with police staff to determine whether they had contacted the Mountain View Police Department about the incidents. Mountain View law enforcement had yet to respond before the Town Crier’s deadline.

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