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.
They do it for a living – and nothing will stop them. Probably on parole.
@Danielle – Sigh. You may be right.
There was a burglary with similar M.O. — they took electronics including Nest cam — in the Knickerbocker area of Orinda Tuesday morning: the victim thinks it was around 10 AM since that’s when the Nest feed went out. They managed not to get their faces on the camera that time, though.
@Alex – Yesterday morning? Busier even than we thought!
Might be an uphill battle to convict the van renter for receiving stolen property (the Nest cam in the van) or as an accessory to burglary; but they ought to charge him anyway and lean on him to violate the “Stop Snitching” ethos and cough up the guy who he lent the van to.
Ive been meaning to ask this question when I see articles like this. What happens to these fine young gentleman when they are caught by the police? It seems the law isn’t harsh enough to discourage their behavior. Is this one of our wonderful California far wacko right Bay Area propositions that gives a slap on the wrist and a $100 gift card to get them back on the right track.
Meh. Our home was burglarized in 1980. This type of crime has been going on for decades. I stopped worrying long ago and just live my life. Although I did miss that microwave they stole in 1980. Had to eat out for two weeks until I replaced it.
Tim not a far right proposition. Prop 47 came from Jerry Brown none other.
Nothing happens to these guys. They will be back next month.
The moral of this story appears to be that if they want it bad enough they’re going to get it. How do you stop that? I don’t know but if you find a solution let me know.
Hope they are caught and punished.
Fortunately, it’s true that these criminals will not spend time in jail. Part of the new social justice conscience seems to want to let every criminal loose and not punish them.
Is uber-tolerance is not helping them, nor us good citizens. The Republicans in the state government were trying to tighten up this proposition 47, but never succeed due to the Democrats overruling them. Criminals are having a field day now, emboldened and basically have nothing to lose. It’s going to get worse until your average citizen finally stands up and demands True Justice.
I meant to say UNfortunately.
Prop 47 doesn’t cover residential burglary. If these guys are caught, they will do jail time (assuming they have priors, which is pretty much guaranteed)— although probably not a lot.
I hope the homeowner’s technology helps to catch these guys. Wireless cameras keep on getting cheaper and better. I just added some “Arlo” cameras that (in addition to storing video in the cloud) work with the new Amazon “Echo Show” (Alexa gizmo with a screen) for a live video doorbell kind of system. I’ve had a couple of incidents in past couple of years where sketchy looking people have approached my front door, noticed the camera, and left without knocking.
@Chris, re: “Sketchy Looking People” – That was us, soliciting for donations. And we shaved and took a bath that week and everything…