Home-Break-In Thwarted, 3 Arrested, Thanks to Alert Neighbor on Lincoln in Palo Alto

Palo Alto Police Department booking photo of suspected burglar Rigoberto Lopez-Lugos of East PA.
Palo Alto Police Department booking photo of suspected burglar Rigoberto Lopez-Lugos of East PA.
Palo Alto police this week arrested three teens, an 18-year-old from East Palo Alto and two minors from Sunnyvale, for an attempted home break-in after a Lincoln Avenue resident called 911 when seeing two suspicious subjects lurking in a neighbor’s yard. 

The 911 call came in clost to 8 p.m. March 16, 2014 from a resident in the 1200 block of Lincoln reporting two males appeared to be hiding in the front yard of a neighbor’s residence. 

Responding officers checked the residence, and found that no one was home and no signs of forced entry, according to the Palo Alto Police Department.

The suspects were apparently gone. However, the caller had video-surveillance footage, which showed two males behind the yard's front gate, police said. 

Officers found and detained two suspects at about 8:15 p.m. in the 1200 block of Hamilton Avenue, police said. 

When the owners of the targeted Lincoln Avenue house returned, police learned they, as well, had video surveillance.

That video showed three suspects at the property  -- with the third carrying a crowbar and hopping a gate from the sidewalk and letting inside the other two, police said.

One of the suspects, later identified as 18-year-old Rigoberto Lopez-Lugos of East Palo Alto, was then seen walking towards the front door of the home, as his purported cohorts returned to the sidewalk, possibly to act as lookouts, police said.
The trio apparently left the scene when they noticed they were spotted by original caller, said authorities. 

Police booked Lopez-Lugos into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony counts of attempted residential burglary and conspiracy.

Police arrested the second suspect, a 15-year-old male from Sunnyvale, for the same charges and released him to the custody of a parent, as is customary in such cases. 

Through follow-up investigation, officers identified the third suspect as a 17-year-old male from Sunnyvale. 

On March 17, officers went to his home and arrested him for the same two charges, and also a single misdemeanor count of possession of burglary tools -- the crowbar. Police released him to the custody of a parent. 

The Palo Alto police do not release information on juveniles.

“The alert neighbor who called 9-1-1 did a great job,” said PA Police Lt. Zach Perron. “They saw behavior that struck them as suspicious, and they immediately called us so we could investigate. That is exactly what we want people to do: trust their instincts and give us a call if something seems suspicious.” 

Detectives are currently investigating if these three suspects may be tied to other residential burglaries, or attempts, in Palo Alto or surrounding communities.

Anyone with information about this incident or these suspects can contact the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed topaloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.


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