Thousands of pieces of stolen jewelry recovered | November 23, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 23, 2012

Thousands of pieces of stolen jewelry recovered

Police have bagfuls of personal property allegedly stolen by two women

by Sue Dremann

Los Altos police released photographs of totes and bags full of jewelry and other loot that have been confiscated from two women accused of burglarizing at least 15 to 20 homes. Some of the burglaries took place in Palo Alto and involved "thousands" of pieces of jewelry, a Los Altos police spokesman told the Weekly.

Police found electronics and jewelry at the East Palo Alto residence of Ana Lauese, 35, and Malinda Ladson, 33. The women were arrested Oct. 29 and are suspected of being involved in burglaries going back as far as June, Los Altos police spokesman Sgt. Scott McCrossin said.

Police did not release photos of the pieces of jewelry and other stolen property. Only the victims have seen those pictures in order to prevent other people from falsely claiming the valuables, he said.

But police photos showed a pile of bulging backpacks and bags, stuffed with allegedly stolen goods.

"Each of those bags is filled with jewelry," McCrossin said.

Since announcing the arrests on Nov. 6, Lauese and Ladson have been charged with nine additional counts of burglary along with the three original charges, he said.

Police have been able to match much of the property with victims, but owners aren't likely to receive their property for some time. It must remain as evidence for the cases, he said.

Investigators were not able to recover everything for every victim, however. Some of the electronics are missing, and it is likely that the most expensive items have been sold, he said.

McCrossin said he did not have a total value for the ill-gotten booty, but one victim reportedly lost items amounting to $100,000, he said.

A Los Altos officer broke the burglary cases after noticing one of the women sitting in a vehicle parked in the 600 block of Almond Avenue on Oct. 29 at approximately 2 p.m. The woman gave a false name to the officer and "exhibited suspicious behavior," according to police.

The other woman was found nearby on Higgins Avenue and had a different account of her reason for being in the neighborhood. A search of Ladson's vehicle turned up jewelry that had been stolen earlier in the day from a home in the 2300 block of St. Francis Drive in Palo Alto, police said. Methamphetamine was also found in the vehicle.

Lauese and Ladson have been connected to residential burglaries in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties, police said. They have been tied to thefts in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View, San Jose, Redwood City, Belmont and Kensington.

McCrossin said residents should mark their property and store the information in a safe place. If items are stolen, police will have an easier time of reconnecting owners and their property when the information is looked up in a database.

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

Astonishing story. People should secure their valuables like jewelry.
Sheesh, how about supervisisng your house cleaners, with other recent stories of crime?
These women were pretty brazen and did a lot of theft - pretty systematic, it seems.
Thanks to the police (probably multiple jurisdictions?) for sorting all this out.

Like this comment
Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

I don't think it's fair to be suspicious of your housekeepers. None of the recent thefts I've read about here have been by household help. I mean, if you want to supervise everyone you let into your life, that's your business, but it does not show respect.

My parents' home was burglarized when I was a kid and lots of stuff was taken, not just portable jewelry but Persian rugs and other furniture. Having photos of all the valuable possessions in your home is crucial to recovering stolen items, because the burglar may have sold them off already, so you may not be so lucky as to have the police discover a treasure trove in the thief's home. The reality is you can't put all your possessions under lock and key, other than the exterior doors and windows. Luckily in our case, the thief was discovered to live a couple of houses away and he jumped back fences to access several nearby properties. I think he may have been ID'd when he tried to sell stolen property.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 26, 2012 at 3:27 am

This article should reference the original arrest story: Web Link

@Cedric, though unrelated, readers here will likely remember this recent housekeeper case: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 26, 2012 at 7:47 am

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

@musical, thanks for the link. Unfortunate. I think it is foolish to steal from your employer like that, because you're just one of few if any more than you people who come into the home, so it is not hard to link missing items to a house cleaner. Vs, say, stealing from an office full of employees, that would be harder to track (though of course, still unethical).

My parents worked full time so they had a house cleaner/nanny to look after me when I'd get home from school each day, maybe she would cook sometimes too. she generally seemed busy but being a child i didn't pay that close attention, or at least don't recall. We had a few different women come and help this way over the years and they were each wonderful women, kind, helpful, of good disposition and character, and of course they never stole from us.

Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 26, 2012 at 8:43 am

I have had inexpensive (the expensive stuff was locked up) jewelry and even asthma inhalers stolen from my home when the real estate agent was giving an open house!
Go figure!

Every room cannot be monitored every minute, and every entrant to a home cannot be screened, or searched upon exit. Someone really bent on stealing will find a way to do it, and probably get away with it.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 26, 2012 at 9:08 am

One can only imagine the "shrinkage" due to shoplifting at retail establishments. We all pay.

Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

@Musical: Thank you for the link to the original story, which shows the mug shots. The blonde doesn't "look like a criminal" so the LAPD did a great job of questioning and catching them.

I wonder how long they will be in prison though. Perhaps only a year? Obviously, they will return to crime. Anyone who thinks it's okay to run around, stealing from everyone has serious mental issues and doesn't belong in society.

Like this comment
Posted by profiling
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

The above comments about "doesn't look like a criminal" shows how little Palo Alto residents know about criminals. A lot of real criminals (not just TV criminals) look like this perp.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Uh, yeah, the blonde does look like a criminal - the eyebrows. She's also got that indefinable something that warrants a second look if you're a cop (pun intended).

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.