Auto burglars sweep through Whisman Station, Rex Manor

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Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Vehicles parked along Minaret Avenue, above, were among those targeted by auto burglars late Feb. 12 or early Feb. 13.

Updated Feb. 19 at 11 a.m.

Mountain View Police Department officers are investigating a rash of auto burglaries that left scores of vehicles in two local neighborhoods with shattered windows. 

The most recent incident occurred early Monday (Feb. 17) morning on Saw Mill Lane, a dead-end street near Bailey Park Plaza Shopping Center on Shoreline Boulevard, according to a police department press release. Burglars busted into a “still-to-be-determined” number of vehicles there at approximately 2:30 a.m.

Overnight between Feb. 12 and 13, burglars broke into an estimated 30-40 vehicles within a Central Park at Whisman Station parking lot and along Minaret and Ada avenues, which are nearby. The damaged vehicles included a Mercedes SUV, a Mazda3 sedan and a Honda Civic. A Chevy Bolt, Kia Rio and another Honda Civic parked just beside them remained unscathed.

The area’s proximity to several major highways might make it an attractive target for criminals seeking a speedy getaway route; Whisman Station is nestled between Highways 85 and 237 and boarded by Central Expressway. Overnight in late October, burglars busted into approximately 20 vehicles parked along Ferguson Drive near the Compass Way intersection, less than a half-mile away from the Whisman Station burglaries.

The police department credits alert Mountain View residents with helping detectives catch four auto burglary suspects in January by reporting suspicious activity in a timely manner. On Jan. 2, calls about two men trying vehicle door handles in the 1000 block of Grant Road led to the arrests of Richmond residents Ricardo Zepeda, 19, and Juan Rodriguez, 20, in connection to a burglary that later occurred near the intersection of Middlefield Avenue and Whisman Road. On Jan. 14, reports about auto burglaries on Gladys Avenue and Ellis Street and a package theft in the 100 block of Savannah Loop helped detectives nab Mountain View residents Scott Wolfe, 33, and Billie Mann, 28. Both incidents took place in the middle of the day.

“Unfortunately, despite these arrests, we continue to see individuals who would commit these crimes of opportunity coming into our communities across the Bay Area,” according to the release. “This is not just an issue in Mountain View – law enforcement agencies are seeing this issue in many cities.”

Authorities encourage drivers to refrain from leaving valuables in their vehicles and to secure anything within them that may prove tempting for criminals.

“Thieves will take anything they think may be of value to sell, including purses, bags, phones, wallets, and even sunglasses,” according to the release.

Report information about these crimes – and private surveillance video that might provide clues – by calling MVPD’s non-emergency line, 903-6344. Report crimes or suspicious activity in progress by calling 911. Learn about the MVPD’s “Park Smart” campaign by visiting mountainview.gov/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=1431&TargetID=9.

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