Woman robbed at gunpoint at noon in Palo Alto

A woman walking in the 1100 block of Harker Avenue in Palo Alto Tuesday at noon was robbed by a young man with a gun, Detective Brian Philip said.

The woman told police the young man "stopped in front of her, produced a silver handgun and demanded her property," Philip said.

The woman gave the man her cell phone. "When the suspect realized she had nothing else, he turned and ran away," Philip said.

The young man was described as Hispanic, about 16 years old, 5-feet 5-inches tall and weighing 125 pounds. He was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head, baggy blue jeans and white sneakers. He may have been unshaven around his mouth.

The woman was not injured.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the police tip line at 650-329-2190.

-- Don Kazak


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:13 pm

How awful. I hope this is an isolated incident, but I think this is a good time to remind the city council and mayor that public safety is the first priority. We need to be asking if the PAPD needs anything to provide a more beefed up presence on the street.

Posted by You know what to do., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 25, 2008 at 8:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by cosmo, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 25, 2008 at 10:13 pm

i would like to hear from the pa police about what they have been doing in response to the increase in home and auto burgularies and as well as shocking incedents such as this

Posted by scary, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2008 at 10:32 pm

I have to say, this kind of incident, in the middle of day, must have been terrifying for the victim... and it is rather scary for us all.

Posted by KT, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2008 at 10:45 pm

wow, this is crazy....I couldn't imagine what this woman is going through. I wonder if this is the same guy who has been breaking into homes and cars around town too??? We all need to work together to call in any suspicious people or activity! I am so glad the perp didn't go any further when he realized she didn't have any seems as though his conscience is somewhat intact.

Posted by Victim, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 26, 2008 at 1:05 am

You ask how to help the when you see something. The PAPD can't be in all places at once. Just today my car was broken into and my purse was stolen at Bixpie Park (over by the dumps / baylands). And no, it was not out in the open, it was in the trunk. The crooks are watching us, we just need to be smarter then they are. Within 1 hour I had charges on all my credit cards. This is happening in our neighborhood and we need to help the PD and stop them.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2008 at 7:34 am

Crime is increasing and unfortunately Palo Alto is like so many cities they are finding it harder and harder to recruit suitable applicants to be Police Officers in our town.

Several Officers have retired or moved on to other jurisdictions, I believe we are well below the 93 allowed. Just don't complain when you see how much Police Officers make in overtime, they'd far rather be home with their families, but they are out there protecting Palo Alto.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2008 at 8:04 am

Neighbor is RIGHT! They had to give the PA Police a good size raise last year to keep good officers from leaving the city and going to other cities with better pay and benefits.
The meth addition and the economy has also help drive the crime up in all cities.

Posted by MidtownMom, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 8:49 am

The woman was lucky - the suspect ran away when he realized she had just the cell phone. This could have been detrimental - the suspect getting angry since she didn't have any money on her and it leading to drastic actions on the suspects part.

I have stopped walking my dog in the dark ( morning and evening ). I hope with an increase in the daytime incidents we do not have to stop walking around the neighborhoods altogether!

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 26, 2008 at 9:18 am

I hope this guy is locked away forever.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2008 at 10:11 am

Why wasn't there a telephone alert sent out? Evidently this low life was on foot and might have been seen in the area some place else.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2008 at 11:34 am

The telephone alert should be kept for an emergency when something can be done about it - not for every police action. The suspect was gone in a few minutes; the alert system takes minutes to activate.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Mar 27, 2008 at 2:25 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

I feel terrible for this woman. The fact that this sort of thing is happening in daylight is truly scary and troubling. I hope that the city will consider beefing up the police force rather than allocating money for monstrocities like "Go Momma" on California Ave., or the egg on University Ave. Community safety should be the first priority, not the frivolous stuff.

Victim, I am sorry for what you went through. And I read your comment before it was deleted (it shouldn't have been as it was your opinion and a valid one) and agree with you completely.

Posted by Services are us, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 27, 2008 at 3:35 am

I was told we have better services in this city.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2008 at 6:28 am

Sorry but the Police budget is being cut again this year. We have fewer officers than we once did.

Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2008 at 9:52 am

Police can't be everywhere: but they investigate and let's hope they can find the assailant.
So, the street was deserted was it?
Suburban environments with large lots, sparse population during the day and housing which is not responsive to the street (most houses' living quarters do not overlook the street) are conducive to crime. Particularly, houses turning its back on the street (as if people are afraid of being seen washing strawberries for dinner) leaving mostly deserted streets are a recipe for vulnerability. A lot of people on the street at all hours, living quarters overlooking the street scene (someone is always looking out) and business nearby promote a safe environment. That is why in population and business urban environments with low raise buildings (townhouses for example) crime is a rarity. When I lived in such an environment in one of the US biggest cities the last crime in my area resulting in bodily harm was in 1990. That city has one of the highest crime rates in the country (mainly confined to one or two sections of the city, which incidently are of a more suburban nature: still in the townhouse section crime is incredible low.

Posted by yes, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2008 at 1:07 pm

yes its troubling, but these incidents dont spring out of nowhere, everyone must be aware of what they are doing with their life . are you speaking out against violences commited against innocent people everyday by authorities/ if youre not , or are unaware of these incidents, then , become aware of them. its time to examine the priorities of life on earth...

Posted by ha, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2008 at 7:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Narnia's point is a good one. I stay-at-home with my little kids, and its kind of creepy how quiet it is during a common weekday. I always feel quite vulnerable going to and from the park, etc. I guess this incident shows my fear isn't completely irrational! I really think California needs shall-issue concealed carry permits now. Its nice to believe the police can protect us, but they simply aren't going to be there at the time a robbery happens. I see a police car randomly cruise by me on my route about once every year. If the issuance of the permit is conditioned upon a a training requirement, I will gladly meet that requirement.

Posted by its all in your head, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2008 at 1:43 pm

What's this city coming to when people feel like they need a gun to accompany their kids to the neighborhood park? That's plain weird.

Posted by Ed, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2008 at 11:57 am

What about building a giant wall around Palo Alto and only have one entrance and exit guarded by armed soldiers??

Posted by Isaac, a resident of The Greenhouse
on Apr 2, 2008 at 9:05 pm

"What about building a giant wall around Palo Alto and only have one entrance and exit guarded by armed soldiers?"

How do you account for the fact that many of the crimes committed in Palo Alto are committed by people who actually live in Palo Alto - no walls needed. Many of these people live in rentals right here in Palo Alto but local residents won't admit it.

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