More predawn burglaries of occupied Palo Alto homes

Palo Alto police have their hands full investigating a spree of early morning break-ins and intrusions. In all the cases, the residents were at home, sleeping.

"All concerning, because these are overnight occupied residential burglaries, which are historically rare," said acting Palo Alto police Lt. Brian Philip.

The latest incident happened at about 5:20 Sunday on Fulton Street as a woman in her 70s was in bed.

"Someone had tried to break into her house while she was sleeping," Philip said.

She heard someone rattling her back door and then run from her side yard. The intruder had removed two window screens and slid open a window without going inside.

Another incident happened at about 6:20 Thursday at a home on Hamilton Avenue.

"A couple was asleep in their residence and awoke to discover that someone had actually broken into their house and stole some small items from their kitchen area," Philip said.

Among the things taken - electronic items and keys to a vehicle. But the car itself wasn't stolen. Police determined that the intruder got in using a key the couple had hidden outside their home.

Police are also looking for  two men who broke into two homes on Gailen Avenue and Nathan Way, tried to get into a third home and stole a car as the residents slept before dawn on Oct. 12. The car was later found nearby. 

"They stole some bikes, they stole a car and they broke into a house," Philip said.

Philip said these kinds of break-ins usually happen during the day. But things have changed because of the coronavirus.

"Typically they occur when people are either out of their house, at work, what have you," Philip said. "In these times, a lot more people are at home." 

Police say it's unclear whether any of the incidents are related. They've stepped up patrols and are also comparing notes with other police agencies to see if they're also working similar cases.