Downtown Palo Alto businesses targets of smash-and-grab thieves

Two downtown Palo Alto businesses were the target of smash-and-grab thieves in recent days.

Police said more than two dozen thieves smashed the front door of a luxury consignment store Sunday night.

At this point, police cannot say if the same people are  responsible for other smash and grabs in the Bay Area.

 Crews were boarding up The RealReal's display window and front door on University Avenue Monday evening.

Police said up to 15 vehicles pulled up and 25 to 30 people got out and smashed the glass door.

But an alert security guard called 911.

Police responded before anyone got inside the store and said they were able to stop one vehicle and arrest two people so far.

De Novo Contemporary Jewelry store also was targeted, though police said they do not believe the same people are responsible. 

 "They broke the front door with a sledge hammer. Then they came in and smashed this case, smashed this case and this case," Cherry LeBrun, the owner of De Novo Contemporary Jewelry said as she pointed to the damaged display cases.

 She said this is the first time in her 31 years of running the business that her store has been burglarized.

There was shattered glass everywhere. 

 "I don't know why it's happening. But it's upsetting and it's scary," LeBrun said thieves stole $50,000 worth of  jewelry, handmade by artists. "It affects all of my staff who work here and care about the business deeply. It affects the 60 small studio jewelry artists who I represent." 

Cleanup and repairs have kept her store closed.

She hopes to reopen by Friday.

The thieves' method of operation appears  similar to the smash and grabs that took place  at stores in San Francisco's Union Square on Friday and the Nordstrom in Walnut Creek on Saturday. 

Palo Alto Police describe it as a regional problem that needs a regional response.

 Shoppers said these recent incidents are a reminder to be alert.

 "What's going on in the world, in the Bay Area that they're doing this. It's scary," said Linda Pardini, a Mountain View resident who was shopping in the area. "Things are happening left and right that shouldn't be happening. I don't know what the police can do to stop it." 

"Whenever I go places, I'm always keeping an eye on what's going on around me," said Paul Jackson, a Palo Alto resident.