Burglarized in broad daylight by thieves hitting multimillion-dollar homes during school hours, targeting parents with predictable schedules. It's a scenario all too common on the Peninsula these days. Five daytime burglaries in upscale Atherton and two in neighboring Menlo Park have residents on edge.
Theanne Thomson returned to her Menlo Park home at about 11:30 Monday morning with her 4-year-old son in tow. Just as she walked into the home from the garage, she spotted the intruder running out her front door.
"I ran to the front of my house and saw a Hispanic teenager running down the street. I yelled 'Stop! Police!' He turned around and looked at me and that when I was worried he might have an accomplice in the house." Thomson said. "I saw that he was wearing a blue surgical glove on his hand, probably so he wouldn’t leave fingerprints." Her son pointed out the footprints left on their back doors where the thief apparently tried to kick in the doors.
Thomson called police but they couldn't find the would-be burglar, whom Thomson described as stocky, in his late teens and about 5' 8" tall.
"These are happening during school hours." Thomson warns. "They're looking for houses, knocking on neighbors' doors and if they're not home, they go to the targeted house and break in."
Thomson says police told her they've seen a rash of daytime burglaries in the area. In another case, burglars waited for a nanny to leave the Lindenwood home in Atherton, then made off with $35,000 worth of jewelry and silverware. The homeowner tells NBC Bay Area the nanny locked the doors but didn’t set the alarm.
Police offer a few tips to help keep the school-time scoundrals out:
- Double check to see that doors and windows are locked.
- Set the alarm if you have one.
- watch for suspicious activity in the neighborhood.
The experience left Thomson rattled, but she considers it a wake up call.
"I was shaken up for a day, but I realize life has to go on." Thomson said. "I have three children. We have a life to take care of and enjoy, and you can't worry about these things but you can take precautions."
The mother says they were planning to get a dog, but the kids will be happy to know that this close call has sped up the plans for that puppy.