Then just after midnight Sunday, police said, he broke into a nearby home, woke up a sleeping couple and asked them for their password. The male resident “pushed him down the hallway and out the front door of the house before calling police,” police said in a statement.
Palo Alto Police Sgt. Dan Pojanamat told The Washington Post on Friday that it’s unclear whether the juvenile suspect was really seeking WiFi access or whether it was simply an excuse, saying that “the real issue is the fact that he entered a house that was occupied.”
The suspect was arrested on charges of residential burglary, prowling and providing false information to an officer, according to the police statement. (Authorities said the teen had lied to officers about his identity during the arrest). A spokesman with the district attorney’s office said he could not comment on the case because it involves a juvenile.
Police responded to a call early Sunday from the couple, who are in their 60s, reporting that “they had just awakened to a stranger in the bedroom of their home,” police said in the statement. Police said the teen broke into the home by slicing through a window screen. Officers arrested the suspect not far from the house on East Charleston Road.
“He had a black T-shirt wrapped around the back of his neck under his sweatshirt,” police said. “Officers believe that was what had been covering his face during the burglary.”
Later Sunday afternoon, police received a call from the residents who said the teen had asked for their WiFi on Saturday night and then stolen the bicycle. Police said in the statement that a woman who lived in the home had seen the teen outside her bedroom window, “motioning that he wanted to talk to her.” Police said surveillance video showed that he had moved the bicycle from their backyard to their front yard before asking for their password. When the residents told him to leave, police said, he rode away on it.
Fun fact: The city of Palo Alto offers free WiFi to residents and visitors.