Palo Alto police are looking for a man who attempted to grab an 11-year-old girl's arm as she rode her bicycle past him after cursing at her as she approached him.
The incident occurred Monday, Feb. 4, at about 5:16 p.m. in the 1600 block of Emerson Street, police said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
The girl told police was riding her bicycle southbound. She first saw the suspect standing in the street glaring at her. He walked to the west sidewalk and began to yell curse words at her as she approached, police said. When she was about 10 feet away from him, he stepped off the sidewalk and attempted to grab her right arm as she rode past. He did not actually make contact with her, police said.
The girl screamed, pedaled faster, and rode away from the man. He did not attempt to follow her, but as she rode away, she heard him yell that he was going to "kidnap" her. She last saw him running away from her in the opposite direction, headed northbound on Emerson Street. She rode home and told her parents what had occurred.
The man is described as white, in his 30s, between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, and weighing between 140 and 160 pounds. He had light-colored hair and was either balding or had a receding hairline. He was wearing eyeglasses and a "puffy" dark blue jacket.
There is no known suspect vehicle, and police have not been able to locate any witnesses. Palo Alto police officers and detectives have increased marked and unmarked patrols in the area. The department has not received reports of any similar incidents elsewhere in town, a spokesman said.
Police have posted personal-safety and crime-prevention tips on the City of Palo Alto website, www.cityofpaloalto.org/StopCrime.
The department asks that residents remain aware of their surroundings when out in public and encourages the public to report suspicious behavior immediately by calling 911.
Parents are advised to encourage children to be alert and to tell an adult about anything they see that does not seem quite right, the department said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.