News


Boys robbed Saturday afternoon in Palo Alto

Three on bikes, scooter sought in afternoon robbery

Two 13-year-old boys were robbed in Palo Alto on Saturday afternoon, Palo Alto police said.

The boys were walking on Edgewood Drive near Newell Road when they were approached by three other boys between 15 and 16 years old riding BMX bicycles and a Razor-style scooter at about 3:45 p.m., police said.

One of the alleged robbers rode up to the boys and asked for the time, which one of the victims answered after pulling out an electronic music player.

The boy on the bike then said, "Give us your stuff," according to police. He had his hand in his sweatshirt pocket, police said.

"Both boys heard a sound they described as 'a can of soda opening,' which they thought might be the sound of a gun cocking," police stated in a press release.

The boys did not see a weapon, police said.

The boys handed over the music player and a cellphone and the robbers were last seen crossing the Newell Street bridge into East Palo Alto, police said. Officers searched the area but were unable to locate the suspects.

The boys were described as Hispanic males between 15 and 16 years old, wearing black hoodies and blue jeans. The primary aggressor had a thin build and long, straight hair. His BMX bicycle was black and orange, and one of the other boys had a black BMX bike.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Palo Alto police at 650-329-2413.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by cell phones
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Cell phones are one of the top priorities for street thieves. These kinds of thefts would stop if cell phone companies just disabled the phones after a report of theft. European and Asian cell phone companies do this. American cell phone companies do not, presumably because cell phone theft is good for business.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Robbers are really running amock in PA these days. They appear to be amateurish mostly. What can we do? What suggestions does the Police Department have? I was hoping for increased Police presence, but I can't say I have noted any myself.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm

It's difficult for the police department to increase their presence when they're having to do more with less. The PAPD has 15-20% less approved positions than they had twenty years ago. They are currently down 14 positions that they're trying to fill. Many specialized units that were in place to combat these type of street crimes, along with the aforementioned loss of positions were due to budget cuts. The patrol department is operating more often than not at minimum staffing levels. Palo Alto is a busier place to police than most people realize. I learned that first hand through participation in the Citizen's Academy and ride-along program. The police definitely have their limitations, especially after having to cope and manage with all of these budget cuts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2012 at 12:40 am

I grew up in Palo Alto and moved out after college (have been living in a different community ever since). I have to say that when I was a kid, there was MUCH less crime of this nature in Palo Alto. I used to walk everywhere by myself as a teenager and I never even had a thought in my mind that I could be robbed walking down the street in the middle of the day. Ever. This is pretty scary.

I have to say that I am glad that I no longer live in Palo Alto. No city is safe, but I think that for a smaller town, Palo Alto has gone very downhill. I would not feel safe raising kids there or living there in general, given the ongoing burglaries.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

I truly believe that when it's all said and done Palo Alto is still an overall safe place to live and raise a family. The statistics bear that out especially as it applies to violent crime. However, no community is entirely immune from crime. Where Palo Alto has perhaps changed over the years is that it has become much less of an insulated community, and more of a destination point in terms of shopping, entertainment, nightlife, dining, education, and employment. It's a bigger, busier place, and with that comes some criminal elements. In reality that dynamic applies to the entire Peninsula. It's easier for people to get around, and Palo Alto is no longer a small town in and of itself. It's part of a much larger metropolitan area made up of diverse social and economic backgrounds. That demographic blend, like in the case of any larger metropolitan city, will undoubtedly experience a higher crime rate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by danos
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by amok
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm

these things have always happened to kids. getting things ripped off . happened 40 years ago too. now with media saturation ,it builds up every little thing as some kind of trend. it has always been part of america. you cant leave anything unlocked. it gets stolen. not all countries are like that!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm

It wouldn't cause me any grief to see the Newell Street bridge removed. I live near it, never use it, and suspect it offers more harm than good to the Crescent Park neighborhood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

The Newell Street Bridge is actually supposed to be expanded to be a much wider, more accessible road. That should make Newell an even faster and more well travels cut thru to 101.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by grandparent now
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 3, 2012 at 10:44 am

Guess no one remembers the 70's--80's. My school age son and his friends were "flashed" on a few occasions by perverts in Mitchell Park, while walking home from school. Didn't seem to happen in the mornings. That stuff stopped when a police substation was located in the (now demolished) Mitchel Park Library.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by kl
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2012 at 11:51 am

I remember the Mitchell Park flasher in the 80's. He wore little jogging shorts and pulled them down. I also got flashed near Gunn by a perv riding by on his bike.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm

The bridge will NOT be closed. Thieves are thieves- if they want to rob you, they'll give it their best shot. I recall more flashera & kids stealing bikes & other stuff from kids more often - - including lots of bullying in Palo Alto - it just wasn't reported as widely.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AliceCravitz
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm

It takes a village to be vigilant. Be an Alice Kravitz (Bewitched) and keep an eye on your hood. I do and my neighbors thank me for it. If people appear shady in my neighborhood, I give them the evil eye and they take off. No one messes with a middle aged woman with her guard up and cell phone handy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

The increase in crime is why I have a concealed weapon permit.
I hope those boys try it with me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm

@ Steve. That's probably what Zimmerman was thinking too. His time is coming. Be careful what you wish for.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Trish
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2012 at 5:54 am

Steve,
That sounds like a threat. These thieves are just kids, and are a good reason to keep a camera on you, not a gun.

By the way, is there any chance that we could nominate our location as being ex-Palo Alto? Quite a number of us used to live in Palo Alto, and still keep in touch.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Trish. Not meant to be a threat. The attitude is eerily similar to the Florida situation. I think it is pretty clear that the "stand your ground" law was used incorrectly and Zimmerman will be charged, at least with manslaughter. One thing I'd bet on: that Zimmerman wishes he had just waited in his car for the police to arrive. That's the main point I was trying to make.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Trish. Sorry, I forgot the other poster's name was Steve too. And yes, the comment did sound like a threat. Thank God there WERE NOT any guns involved in this incident.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

@ cell phones:

American cellular companies (like Sprint and Verizon) DO lock phones if they are reported stolen. In fact, you cannot activate a phone if it is reported stolen.

I once purchased a phone from Craiglist after making sure that the ESN was "clean." However, the ESN was NOT clean. The phone was reported stolen and was now "bricked." I asked the cellular company to let the customer know what happened in case they wanted me to give them the phone (or provide a description of the person that I bought it from).

There are "loop holes" around this. From what I was told, a cell phone that is "bricked" can be activated after a certain lengthy period of time because the ESN is "released." Now, I am not sure how accurate this actually is or what the rationale would be if it is true.

However, I agree that it would be better to keep a stolen phone "bricked."

That said: I hope that they catch these thugs and thoroughly embarrass them. I hope that they are forced to realize how much of an embarrassment they are to their parents, family and society in general.

Something needs to be done to stop this growing propensity toward crime in certain groups. There just isn't any embarrassment or shame anymore.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by danos
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

"These thieves are just kids"

Sorry, strong-arm robbery is not "kids being kids". To even think that way is just plain foolish.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:35 am

I agree that this is kids being kids but that does not mean we should excuse it.

Kids who behave badly when they are very young should be taught (punished) by parents and shown that this is not the way to behave. This is obvious to many of us. By the time they are teenagers they should know the difference of right and wrong. Yes, this is what should happen. But, if they are products of poor parenting, this information is never taught to them, they don't see the difference of right and wrong and they turn first into villains like this and the continue into a life of crime.

So really what needs to happen is for society to ensure that kids grow up with proper parenting. Easy to say, really hard in practice.

I suspect these kids have no fathers in their lives to teach them how to be morally sound. If they have fathers, they are probably not good role models. The male role models they have may be bad role models or may be from bad tv or bad video games. Even the female adults in their lives may be caring for them physically, but unable to give them the moral guidance they need for all sorts of reasons.

I am not condoning the behavior of these kids, but I feel sad for them. They have started their lives of crime and unless something dramatic happens to prevent them doing the same again, their lives are just going to be more criminal statistics. It is a vicious circle. For some, they have very little chance to learn the right way to behave in society.

I applaud all those who are trying to do something to help EPA (and other neighborhoods) youth with mentoring, after school programs and other efforts to help give the underprivileged youth positive role modeling. Not only is it going to help the individual youths, but also help society as a whole.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm

"These thieves are just kids" => These kids are just thieves.

They certainly do know that strong-arm robbery is considered to be wrong by all their victims, and by the authorities. They justify it by feeling they themselves have been victimized so much by society or by fate that they deserve to get something back, by force if necessary.

Now let's all be scrupulously honest on our tax returns, even though we may feel our money is being grossly misspent.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kerri
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

Palo Alto police need to get out of their cars, and have a presence on foot or bikes in key areas. When is the last time you saw a cop WALKING on University Ave? Not that they could have stopped this robbery but Palo Alto is going to keep looking like open playing field for theft and robbery because there is no deterrent.Community policing should not be such a foreign concept in this small town. Workinf in NY and SF, why not Palo Alto?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tommy
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Apr 11, 2012 at 9:27 am

These kids are my friends i cant believe they got jumped


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