The shocked victims and neighbors in the Upper El Toyonal neighborhood have asked Patch to keep their identities private but they are speaking out in hopes of finding a car driven by thieves who "didn't seem to care if anyone heard them" as they raided one home while a neighbor looked on.
On Tuesday, about 1:30 p.m., a resident heard a car revving up on a narrow road in his neighborhood. When he looked outside to investigate, he said he saw three young men, possibly in their 20s or 30s, running into his neighbor’s yard. He suspected they were burglars trying to gain entry and immediately notified Orinda police.
According to the neighbor, the three thieves brazenly knocked down the side door of his neighbor's home and entered the residence. He said the thieves were very “loud when knocking down the door, as if they didn’t care who heard.” Within minutes of breaking in, the thieves got into a gold (mini) van (Toyota or Honda) and drove off quickly.
Another resident who was driving up the same road had to swerve to avoid getting into a collision. This neighbor thinks the driver of the getaway car may have had a darker complexion.
Orinda police arrived about 5 to 10 minutes after the neighbor called in to report the crime just as the owner of the burgled residence returned home. Police and neighbors told the homeowner what had occurred and the shell-shocked resident went inside to see the havoc the thieves left behind.
She said the side door was kicked in and so severely damaged it had to be replaced. A full inventory of items stolen has yet to be completed but the thieves did manage to steal the family television, a Wii console and cameras.
The residents are pretty shaken and traumatized, expressing surprise that the presence of a large dog in the back yard did nothing to deter the thieves. The neighbor who witnessed the crime said he was "quite astonished" by the volatility of their actions while they committed the crime. He said he could not believe how loud they were breaking in, knowing that neighbors were home.
Neighbors speaking to Patch for this story expressed continued belief in Orinda police and said they were "impressed" by how quickly they arrived at the scene. Because the thieves were in the home for just a few minutes and managed to elude a police cordon thrown up to block their escape, many are wondering what more can be done to prevent these crimes.