Jan 21 2013

Piedmont Police Issues Urgent Home Invasion Alert to Residents

Two more home invasions in Piedmont -Sturdy front door and locks advised

On Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:12 a.m., Piedmont Police received a report that unknown person(s) rang the doorbell of a home in the 100 block of Estates Drive at about 6 a.m. There was no description of the person(s).
At 6:20 a.m., Piedmont Police received a report that three tall black male adults, in their early to mid-20’s, wearing dark clothing and bandanas over their faces had kicked in the front door of another home in the 100 block of Estates Drive. One suspect with a short barreled rifle or shotgun confronted one resident in the home. Another suspect with a semi-auto handgun confronted the other resident. Both residents were told to “lay down” while the suspects ransacked the home. Suspects looked for and asked about money, which was not available. Suspects took change, a computer monitor and a small jewelry box.

Oakland Police officers  in the Estates Drive area were contacted.  They advised Piedmont officers that they were searching for subjects fitting the description of the robbery suspects because of a suspicious persons call in Oakland near the Piedmont border.

At 6:53 a.m., while officers were still investigating the home invasion robbery on Estates Drive, Piedmont Police received a report from a resident in the unit block of Arroyo Avenue — on the opposite side of Piedmont from Estates Drive– that three to five black male adults in their early to mid-20’s had kicked in the front door of the residence. Most suspects were described as thin, one as heavy set. One adult resident was confronted by a suspect who was armed with a hand gun. This resident screamed and was punched by the suspect, and forced to the floor. One additional suspect was armed with a short barreled rifle or shotgun. Another suspect locked the other resident in the basement when he tried to come upstairs to assist. The suspects ransacked the home, attempting to take computer and video equipment. They attempted to remove a safe.  The other victim escaped the basement and went to a neighbor to call the police. A black female adult suspect waiting in a silver or gray, newer-style full-size SUV, similar to a Suburban with left front damage, apparently called the suspects in the home by cell phone. The suspects fled the home. When the first victim tried to follow, a suspect fired a shot toward the residence. This shot passed through the glass of a front window of the residence before exiting through a rear window to the outside.

Previous home invasions occurred in Piedmont on the evening of January 7 in the 100 block of Indian Road  and the evening of December 12 in the 100 block of  Scenic Avenue.  These types of crimes are also on the rise in nearby communities. Piedmont Police are working cooperatively with robbery investigators throughout Alameda County.  Residents are encouraged to check the quality of their door and window locks, ensure they have ample motion sensor lighting on their homes, consider an alarm system, and to report suspicious activities to the police immediately. If all of this fails to discourage criminals and you are the victim of an armed crime, do not risk the safety of yourself or your family members. When the criminals have left the area, immediately phone 9-1-1 to request assistance.

If you have any information that may help investigators identify these suspects or if you would like to sponsor a neighborhood watch meeting to help keep residents informed and involved, please call Detective George Phifer at (510) 420-3013.

9 Responses to “Piedmont Police Issues Urgent Home Invasion Alert to Residents”

  1. Surveillance cameras should be considered at various points around the city.

  2. Our police should be patrolling more often, especially on the perimeters of the City, where thieves are able to get away more quickly. And we need our police to organize neighborhood meetings. These home invasions are scary.

  3. Thank you PCA for posting this neighborhood update so promptly. I agree with Diane Nakagawa that surveillance cameras at key and well-traveled points in the city would be a help in identifying vehicles.

    I’m really sorry for the residents who experienced this traumatic awakening in their homes.

    Maybe we now should sleep with our cell phones by our bedsides?

  4. As a Piedmont residence in the last Piedmont house on my street, Florada Avenue, I have NEVER seen a Piedmont police car on my street (or an Oakland officer either since the houses on the other side of the street are in Oakland. These are challenging times and we need to be proactive as a community.

    Tamra C. Hege

  5. A great suggestion I heard recently: for those with remote key fobs for their car alarms (and who park on the street or in a driveway), sleep with your key fob near your bed. In an emergency you can trigger the car alarm, potentially alerting neighbors and authorities.

  6. I bet we would need a lot more cops to make a dent in this sort of crime. Video cameras seem like a cheap[er] option and worthy of consideration. Caltrans has them all over the freeway system. We’ve even got em at beaches to check the surf. So why not 4=5 at key intersections? The video feed could go live to the police dispatcher and they could then relay a more accurate vehicle description to OPD and CHP. I bet the whole thing would cost less than one year’s salary for a cop.

  7. Good idea: thanks for the tip, Tim. Those of us who live in the “outlying areas” of Piedmont know that police resources must be rather thin .. we don’t see them very often.

    Doesn’t the PPD have a volunteer brigade (I think I read this somewhere)? Maybe they could be drafted to help with some of the patroling duties.

  8. A practical way to strengthen exterior doors is to install steel strike plates with long screws that anchor securely into the framing behind the comparatively flimsy door frame. Security strike plates with a steel box (needs to be mortised) are available from Home Depot for $3.73… The website link I offered should show what I’m talking about. Hinges can be similarly strengthened with long screws…

    When I lived in Piedmont I strengthened our doors this way after reading about it in Popular Science magazine, thinking it to be prudent and an improvement that would add value to the house. While the individuals who bought the house probably were unaware of the secure doors, I’m sure they appreciate them now!

  9. Tam’s comment raises a question I’ve asked at Council – what is the best patrol pattern for Piedmont? If you think of our street lay-out as a wagon-wheel, what’s the best way to patrol – up and down the spokes or around the perimeter? The statistics show that crime is elevated in all “border” neighborhoods of Piedmont and a perimeter patrol could help lower crime over all. Also, crime is up all over Piedmont but the severity of that crime (theft<burglary<robbery) seems to correlate with the distance from the police station. I doubt more perimeter patrolling would push these crimes into town as it is the easy getaway that makes the outerlying neighborhoods attractive to criminals. Finally, there is an increase in home alarm installation and perhaps positioning police at the perimeter would enable capture of criminals as home alarms are tripped. How cameras will be coordinated with patrol policy is an interesting question.

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