Two more arrested on Los Altos burglary charges

Los Altos Police last week announced the arrests of two East Palo Alto residents allegedly responsible for 15 burglaries in the Bay Area, including at least one in Los Altos.

According to Los Altos Police Sgt. Scott McCrossin, 35-year-old Ana Lauese and 33-year-old Malinda Ladson were arrested in Los Altos Oct. 29 on charges of residential burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. All told, the pair face nine charges of residential burglary after the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed eight additional counts Nov. 6.

Lauese was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail on charges of residential burglary, possession of stolen property and providing false information to a peace officer. She is being held without bail. Ladson was booked on charges of residential burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. She is being held on $150,000 bail.

The arrests came on the heels of a 12-day spike that resulted in more than a dozen residential and commercial properties burglarized in Los Altos. Two weeks ago, police officials also announced the arrests of two Oakland residents allegedly connected to a pair of July burglaries in Los Altos.

“We’re continuing to be vigilant,” said McCrossin, who credited the arrests to additional patrols and predictive policing methods, among other things. “We’ve seen an increase in calls from residents who are reporting suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.”

McCrossin also pointed to increased vigilance by local residents, who have been contacting police in a timely manner after witnessing strange activities in their neighborhoods.

“For us, it’s great to be able to respond to these reports quickly and see what’s going on,” he said. “All of the methods we’ve been employing have been effective.”

The arrests occurred after officers observed one of the suspects in a parked vehicle along the 600 block of Almond Avenue Oct. 29. The suspect in the vehicle subsequently provided officers with a false name and exhibited “suspicious behavior,” according to a press release detailing the arrests. The second suspect, located nearby on Higgins Avenue, gave a different explanation for being in the neighborhood, according to McCrossin. That led to a search of the suspects’ vehicle, which turned up stolen property taken from a home in Palo Alto earlier that day, as well as methamphetamines.

Follow-up investigations by Los Altos and Palo Alto police detectives led to the recovery of additional stolen property, including jewelry and electronics, he added.

McCrossin noted that the two suspects have so far been connected to at least 15 residential burglaries in Santa Clara, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties. That includes at least one Los Altos home burglarized during the city’s 12-day spree in late September and early October.

“The good thing is that these arrests are bringing closure to a lot of people who have been wondering who got into their homes and took their personal property,” McCrossin said.

He said the police department continues to work with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to seek additional charges against the suspects for residential burglaries that have occurred in the county.

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