A mindful Lafayette homeowner took every precaution before leaving his home on Acalanes Road Tuesday – but a “chance encounter” and impeccable timing by two burglars still left him victimized, according to police.
Lafayette police were dispatched to a suspicious circumstance call in the 900 block of Acalanes Road at 10:39 a.m. Tuesday after the homeowner reported seeing two individuals inside his residence who shouldn’t have been there, via his “Nest” camera system.
The homeowner was able to summon police and watch the pair move through his home remotely even though at one point during the burglary the thieves spotted the camera – and took it with them.
While that may have worked for them in the past the thieves were not aware their images had been captured and stored on the cloud, with the homeowner and law enforcement able to retrieve them for review.
Investigators canvassed the neighborhood in hope of finding someone with cameras that may have captured an image of the car used by the thieves while an Orinda PD officer reported responding to a suspicious circumstance call in that city approximately an hour earlier.
An Orinda resident had seen a strange vehicle driving slowly in their neighborhood and reported it to OPD, the neighbor stopping the vehicle and speaking with the two men inside – who responded that they were “lost” and looking for the freeway. The Orinda resident was contacted by LPD Investigators and the vehicle driven by the two subjects was determined to be a newer Chrysler mini-van. The Orinda resident was shown the video images of the two subjects within the Lafayette home and he confirmed these were the two individuals he had seen in the gray van in front of his home.
Despite several preventative measures taken by the homeowner, several computers and tablets were found to have been taken by the unknown suspects, police said, the thieves breaking a window to gain access to the home and reportedly leaving trace evidence behind as they did so.
LPD Investigators were able to locate a vehicle matching the description of a van seen leaving the neighborhood after the burglary, and were also able to locate images of the suspect vehicle entering the neighborhood, where they likely observed the resident leaving their driveway as they drove into the area. A registration check of the vehicle identified it as a rental vehicle with the driver giving his address in Oakland.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, LPD investigators were able to locate the vehicle and question the driver, who was not one of the suspects depicted in the video recording. The driver had lent the vehicle to another individual – that they only knew by a street name. The vehicle was then transported back to Lafayette to be processed by crime scene personnel – who found the pilfered Nest camera inside.
LPD Investigators are now working to identify the two suspects who were photographed within the home during the burglary. Investigation. Investigators are asking for assistance from members of the community who may have seen this gray Chrysler mini-van on Acalanes Road between 10:15 a.m. and 10:35 a.m. Investigators are also looking for residents who may have video surveillance of Acalanes Road during this time frame. Finally, investigators are seeking assistance in identifying the two burglary suspects.