Lafayette Rez Walk Proves Costly: Car Stolen, Orinda Home Burgled

An Aspinwall Court home was burglarized Thursday after the owner left her car at the Lafayette Reservoir to take a morning walk.

Police in Orinda and Lafayette are investigating a curious case which started with an Orinda woman's brisk walk around the Lafayette Reservoir Thursday.

Apparently a thief or thieves made off with the homeowner's car while she walked around the reservoir with her child and returned to her home in her vehicle, entering the vacant residence and making off with "thousands" in valuables.

Neither Orinda or Lafayette police were immediately available to comment on the burglary, which took place on quiet Aspinwall Court, but neighbors said officers surrounded the home at around 10:45 a.m. Thursday and searched it. It is not believed the thief or thieves was found.

The burglar or burglars left the woman's car in her driveway.

Amanda December 01, 2011 at 08:41 PM
Yup. Was out running past that area and saw three OPD, one Lafayette motorcycle, one Lafayette PD car and one MPD car respond. CR\rime, specifically b & e, is up since it's the holidays.
Brad Katkowsky December 01, 2011 at 09:20 PM
Sounds like the burglers in Oakland and San Leandro are doing their Christmas shopping early this year.
Jackie December 01, 2011 at 11:28 PM
You're so sure it's not someone from Lamorinda? Was the woman an easy mark by leaving her her wallet and keys accessible> How did the burglar know her address and use the car?
Amanda December 01, 2011 at 11:43 PM
Well, your home address is on your registration which is inside your car. You don't need keys to start a car.
Danielle December 02, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Burglars from Lamorinda?? There may be a few out to support their Oxy habit but this strikes me as someone who knew the res was a good place to find a car where the owner would be away for a certain period of time. Must have been another car involved to follow her car home and make their getaway so I say burglars and not a single burglar. Sorry to the woman and her family. Not fun to go through at any time but particularly during Christmas.
TobiePeral December 02, 2011 at 01:44 AM
Prob pressed "return home" on the Na igation
X December 02, 2011 at 01:49 AM
Was thinking the same thing. Once there it's easy enough to access the house with the garage door opener many of us keep in our car.
Larry Pines December 02, 2011 at 06:03 PM
The thieves had a solid hour plus to work with. Since she was with her infant (older than pre-school age all in school) that likely slowed her down. Unless parked at the rim trail -- possible if she was quite fit, if kid in a backpack -- the Res. base parking lot is very well populated. More likely she left her keys, since hot wiring a modern car ain't a pretty thing. If the car WAS broken into and then hot wired (less likely) at the Res parking lot during "prime time" one has to marvel how more efficient our East Bay Regional Park Police are at giving out scads of parking tickets, and not protecting the Citizens. JD's write up is barren of any of those key facts probably because EBRPD won't give them out -- especially if it was a crude lie-in-wait car burglary with forced entry and hot wire of the car right under their noses. More likely she left her keys in a purse or other bag in plain view (car locked or unlocked) and then blithely went about her "brisk walk" with a child in tow. Unless she was power walking with the infant in a stroller, it took her over an hour to get around. Agree with others, once in the car with the victim's keys, the rest is easy. The wheel guy follows the driver of the victim's car right to the house after a glance in the glove box. The EBRPD annual gate pass ($120) gives a false sense of security that the compound is secure. In my experience, the Park Officers are focused more on ticketing parkers and leashless dogs than protecting the public.
Zoe Claire December 02, 2011 at 06:55 PM
I don't think we need to second guess the person. What happened to her was horrible and I can just imagine what she was going through -- and with an infant with her. Just terrible. I hope they catch them
TMoraga December 02, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Car insurance card - registration papers in glove box - if car had navigation the thief had everything they needed including the garage door opener which probably gave access to an unlocked inner garage door. Even a 2001 Nissan had a chip security system in key making hotwiring the car nearly impossible. Chances are the thief found a set of keys and simply drove to the house and went shopping. Sucks! My Brother just had his house broken into last month up in Sacramento area. They just got all their stolen items back last week and 5 people were arrested all 5 with very long wrap sheets according to the police officer returning the stuff it sounded like all 5 would be spending 2-5yrs in prison. The bust was directly related to a soda the thief drank and left on a counter in the house - it was finger printed and he came right up on the fingerprint records! You cant Fix Stupid and most criminals are pretty stupid.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop December 02, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Kareful Kat. It was likely third generation local young ones. So say the statistics. This crime indicates premeditation and prior knowledge of the victims habits. The Horatio Alger story, if continued, would see Horatio's wealth squandered, the rule of law ignored and the admirable decisiveness and motivation that Horatio's industriousness made famous all but gone in the behavior of his grandkids. It happens far too often to be a quirk. A couple sons of a very wealthy family that I have known and shared many meals with for decades has a Matriarch still going strong in her nineties. She and I are friends. When sitting together after the funeral of her suicidal grandson, she was reminiscing to me about life as an immigrant to America as a very young woman with her Scandinavian husband, about their struggles and eventual success. About how her three sons were all 'good men' that worked hard to expand and grow the family empire. Then the sad tale of the grandkids, "they're lazy, feckless, ne're-do-wells", she said. This coming from a stately, proud, God-fearing woman who'd seen it all. Then she turned fully facing me and said, "You know, my friend, I hate to say it, but the third generation always f***s it up". I was shocked by such base language from this sweet woman, but I now believe she knew of what she spoke. I've made it a sort of unscientific hobby and it seems that when real wealth invades a family for the first time, it rarely lasts. Hence crime.
Amanda December 02, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Program the address of the police station into your nav. as your home address.
Eileen December 03, 2011 at 07:09 AM
I can share these facts, as the victim is my neighbor, and I think the community would be better-off knowing what kind of perps are acting locally. Her car was parked in the metered section and locked. The thieves (yes, two, the Laf rez pkg lot has cameras) jimmied the locks with some device to gain access to the car's interior quickly and silently, alerting no one. Her purse was not in plain sight, but rather in the trunk. Regardless of how they got here, once on our relatively flat and open cul-de-sac, the thieves again worked quickly and silently - despite the presence of two large dogs in the victim's garage and neighbors working from home offices all around - to rob the house, undetected. They even went so far as to "clean" the car, house of fingerprints with a generous application of WD40 to every surface they likely touched. And the thieves' second car had been reported stolen some days' prior. I'm not in law enforcement, but I'm guessing that this pair of thieves is not new to this game and have been asking friends to exercise greater caution when they park at places with "time-defined" absences, like the Lafayette reservoir, their local gym, or their weekly worship service. If your home address is easily found inside your car (like on your insurance/reg forms), the thieves can use any means to get there and use their allotted time to break in and take what they want, before you know what's happening.
J.D. O'Connor (Editor) December 03, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Great information, Eileen, and we at Patch thank you for "putting a little meat on the bones." We've had information on this case we are not sharing because it could hamper the investigation but we're grateful to your neighbor for alerting us and others as to how these folks are working. And we are very sorry it happened to her in the first place. Ed.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop December 03, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Over the years I have seen various takes on the phenomenon. Confucius even said, "Great fortunes do not see third generation!" In the book Beating the Midas Curse, authors Rodney Zeeb and Perry L Cochell report that 60% of affluent families lose their wealth in the second generation, and 90% will have lost it by the third.
Chris Nicholson December 03, 2011 at 08:00 PM
What? You said statistics show that the perps were likely the grandchildren of well-to-do locals. In effect you were saying that most crooks are trust fund babies whose money dried up, which is absurd. And then, to back up your claims, you cite a Chinese proverb about dissipation of inherited wealth (which is not very insightful-- kinda like saying even a very large pile of gold, if halved enough times, will become a small pile).
Amanda December 03, 2011 at 08:55 PM
The irony is that the goal of many grandparents, who have struggled and scrimped and saved, is for their grandchildren not to have to suffer and struggle as they did.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop December 03, 2011 at 09:15 PM
My god, man. I'm not talking about an an absolute, a physical law of nature! It is a TENDANCY!! The armies nouveau riche that comprise a very large percentage (vague enough for you) of the populace of Lamorinda, which is home to many affluent suburban professionals (due to limited punctuation choices I will parenthetically attribute the aforementioned descriptive to Wikipedia) that have come into their wealth recently. That is, they either garnered it themselves or got a leg up from their 'affluent suburban professional' fathers (in all likelihood the previous generation was still operation in a single wage earner paradigm). Which means, theoretically and perhaps even according to Confucius, that their children or their children's children (depending on when the money arrived) will lose control of their inherited wealth in large numbers. Zeeb and Cochel (see below) claim that 60% of affluent families lose their wealth in the second generation, and 90% will have lost it by the third. I then implied that some the children of these affluent communities are not immune from becoming criminals as juveniles or young adults. You know, as long as you're going to continue your argumentative, haranguing style, you may want to get a piece of Brad, who, by actually naming Oakland and San Leandro, negligently left out Concord and Pacheco as the source of our burglars. I certainly did not intend to alter the earth's orbital path around the sun by mentioning this phenomenon.
Chris Nicholson December 03, 2011 at 09:35 PM
MBlog: You first boldly said the perps "[were] *likely* third generation local young ones" (emphasis mine). This has no basis in reality. You subsequently limply said "...some [of] the children of these affluent communities are *not immune* from becoming criminals..." (again, emphasis mine) which is easy to agree with. I try to harangue everyone here who confidently makes improbable claims without foundation in fact or logic. There's not enough critical thinking in the world, and I just try to do my part to promote it. @Brad: there is no reason to believe that it is more likely that the perps here came from high-crime areas to the West versus to the East--- all criminals are xmas shopping this season.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop December 03, 2011 at 10:41 PM
So saith 5&dime, "I try to harangue everyone here who confidently makes improbable claims without foundation in fact or logic. There's not enough critical thinking in the world, and I just try to do my part to promote it." I think I finally get it! This is a double-back, triple irony, with a dash of tongue-in-cheek with an indian-giver back. I saw this once in a Shakespeare class I took on a whim back in my UC Berkeley undergrad days. I laughed so hard, I cried. Or maybe it was the tear gas sneaking in through the open windows of the auditorium. I can see why you're on the job. Wouldn't want any less-than-probable, illogical nega-factoids being promulgated in this here high temple of seriousness and up-there awareness. Now if I were to mention that these fictitious lower/uber class felons were never actually accounted for in the tally of 'real' criminals because their daddies used some of the money they had left to influence the criminal justice system in such a way that the record of criminal activity just kinda went away, you'd probably think I was pulling your leg, right? I still think the old woman had a point. At least in her experience. Over and, blessedly, out. MB
Shannon W. December 03, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Great idea! I just did that (programmed the police as our home address in our GPS). Also, will not be leaving the registration in the car from now on when I park the car in certain circumstances.
Bill Paxton December 04, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Shocking!!! More anit-police statements.
Sara December 05, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Subsequent information has put the questions posed in this post to rest, thank goodness. JD, did they ever catch the other two people involved in the car theft and chase that started in Moraga and ended in Orinda with one of the thieves crashing? It is pretty apparent that people are coming here to steal and it's for a reason: they think we're soft.


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