News


Police release sketch of purse snatcher

Investigation continues for a bike-riding thief who police say committed two crimes on Jan. 29

Palo Alto police released a sketch Tuesday of a bike-riding purse snatcher who they said committed two crimes in the span of 15 minutes downtown on Jan. 29.

The incidents happened just before 7 p.m. In the first case, the man allegedly stole a purse from a woman who was dining at an outdoor table on the 400 block of University Ave. Police said the victim, a woman in her 60s, was having a meal and had placed her purse under the table.

Police said the man walked up to her, said, "Excuse me," reached down, grabbed her purse and ran eastbound on University Avenue. He then jumped on a dark bicycle and rode away.

One passerby heard the victim calling out for help and tried to give chase on foot, police said. The person saw the bike-riding purse snatcher ride eastbound on Lytton Avenue from Cowper Street.

Shortly after this incident, police received a call reporting an attempted strong-arm robbery that had occurred at around 6:45 p.m. at a bus stop on Quarry Road near Palo Road. The victim in this case was also a woman in her 60s. The bike-riding thief approached her at the bus stop and tried to take the purse off her shoulder as he rode by. She held on, and after a brief struggle, the man rode away westbound on Quarry Road. Police say he was seen heading south toward Palm Drive.

Neither of the victims was injured.

Victims described the thief as possibly white, Hispanic or Asian and in his late teens or early 20s, between 6 feet and 6 feet 3 inches in height, with a thin build. He was described as clean shaven and wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and possibly a white hat.

Police said there haven't been any recent crimes in Palo Alto involving suspects with this description. The most recent unsolved purse-snatch case occurred on the afternoon of Sept. 28, 2013, on the 500 block of Middlefield Road.

Since the release of the sketch, there have been no new details on the investigation, police said.

Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent to 650-383-8984.

Comments

Posted by tall skinny white man, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

Wasn't there a series of sex assaults around town last year by a tall skinny young white man? Cops need to compare witness descriptions.


Posted by Garden Gnome, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 30, 2014 at 11:38 am

Whoa, wait there just a second..."Victims described the thief as possibly white, Hispanic or Asian"...

Isn't that racist?


Posted by tall skinny white man, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Is it sexist to describe the perp as a man? Most police reports give the gender and race of the perp.


Posted by CK, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:49 pm

I was the guy who grabbed this biker by his jacket but it was a wind breaker and he slipped out of my hands. I chased him up Cowper from University to Lytton, but he was on a bike and going pretty fast. He was a skinny white guy with glasses. Blue jacket. I'm still regretting I didn't kick him or check him off his bike. Next time I won't be so nice.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Seriously? Describing somebody, a creep, is racist? Bet you wouldn't say that if you or someone you love were the victim.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Be careful CK. There's a whole lotta crazy and criminal entitlement out there. That being said, it's awesome you cared enough to help.


Posted by CK, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Yeah, all my friends are saying that it's probably a good thing I didn't hurt him because he could sue me if I did. But it would have felt good to help someone get their purse back and give the suspect a little taste of my foot up his ass. I would have been mad as all hell if that was my mom, girlfriend or daughter who got robbed.


Posted by @ck, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:13 am

@ck - if you have not yet, please give a complete description of the perp to the detectives. Sounds like the description they have right now came from the victims who did not get as good a look as you.


Posted by Garden Gnome, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:32 am

Dear tall skinny white man, re:

"Is it sexist to describe the perp as a man? Most police reports give the gender and race of the perp."

Oh yeah - that too. Maybe we should just say, "alleged perpetrator" just to be safe. Wouldn't want to offend any actual perpetrators.

And to CK - you rock. Thank you for trying.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:49 am

JustMe is a registered user.

ck, first, I think you have the thanks of us all for trying to stop that guy, even though you were taking a risk that he had a weapon.

As for kicking him or knocking him off the bike, you probably would have been legally okay with that, but you might have exposed yourself to legal problems if you used excessive or un-necessary force. You have to be careful to stop when the job is done, not take an extra lick for good measure. That's all. Of course, if he reached into his things in a way that could be construed as reaching for a gun or knife, then you can take extra measures for your own safety. But in the end, it will be up to a bunch of people who were not there to decide if you acted excessively.

Bernard Goetz would have been fine if he had not walked up to that one guy he had already shot, said "You don't look so bad, here is another," and shot him again. It was that last un-necessary shot that got him into trouble.


Posted by Thanks, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm

@CK, thanks for at least trying but glad you didn't go further because you may have been hurt and a person like this would have for sure sued you if they were hurt. Most people would not have done what you did so for that I say "thanks"


Posted by Raymond, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:44 pm

No GardenGnome; that means 'not Black'.


Posted by Raymond, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm

My guess is, they're not finding him because he lives in the bushes near the dry creek.


Posted by Question for Raymond, a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 31, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Raymond quoted "No GardenGnome; that means 'not Black'". Exactly what are you trying to say? Not all criminals are "black"! All the racist people should move to where racism is still tolerated. This mindset does not belong in CA or the US for that matter. We all bleed red and most of us have feelings that can be hurt when idiots say insensitive things. If you don't like to live around black people, then move to where there aren't any. When you find that place, let all the other racists people know as well so they can go with you! I dont know of any place that does not have "black" people so good luck


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I'd guess that, like me, Raymond does "live around black people." Probably more than people in the Green Acres neighborhood! Oh, and in case you couldn't tell - sounds like you can't - he was being a tad tongue in cheek.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

JustMe is a registered user.

Dear Question for Raymond, please calm down. No one is being racist here. It is perfectly valid to describe the perpetrator by known physical attributes, and that includes race if it is known. In this case, the perpetrator was apparently not black, but white, hispanic, or asian.

Not only do we all bleed red, but I will go a step further: It is not possible to draw any line through humanity by race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, or any other arbitrary means and say "Good on this side, bad on that side."

Be aware though that you tend to become what you hate, and if you hate racists, you start hating those you perceive to be racist without any evidence, and you, in effect, become a racist. Hatred is the root-cause of bigotry, fight the hate, fight the anger that leads to hate, and fight the behavior, not the people.


Posted by just u, a resident of Southgate
on Jan 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm

just me, please ''calm down''. if theres one thing not white people hate ,is to be told to ''calm down'' . thats assuming just talking about race is an incitemnent. typical racist american views. ms. kavadny might take that advice when hearing something that doesent worship police.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 31, 2014 at 5:07 pm

JustMe is a registered user.

just u, do you realize what you just said? You just drew a line through humanity, white on one side, everyone else on the other, and claimed that everyone on that other side hates to be told to "calm down". That, my friend, is bigotry, pure and simple.

People are people are people, and I promise you that there are people on both sides of that line that do not like being told to "calm down", and there are others on both sides that do not mind it. I find that the people who usually most protest being told to "calm down" are the ones that are all riled up. Ethnicity does not matter.


Posted by Solon, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Anyone who calls another a "racist" IS themselves a " RACIST"


Posted by Social Butterfly, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Back to the story of "the guy" riding his fast, get away speedster through the City of Palo Alto.
Knocking someone off of a bike can be pretty dangerous.
Not caring about the injuries that the "kid on the bike" would have had from the fall, CK could have received a broken arm, wrist, leg (etc.) while pulling the guy down and fell himself, getting injured.
Your a brave and lucky fella CK to try and help out. Thank you for your winded attempt of doing a noble thing.
Also, "Mr. Speedster" on the bike~ no doubt ~has more than likely been recanting his actions wide eyed and laughing that he didn't get caught. Let's hope he tells the wrong person and that person has the fortitude to turn him into the police for action. I would love to be able to walk down University Avenue and feel safe.


Posted by AJ, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

CK, Thank you for your bravery in stepping in to help this woman. Our world needs more heroes like yourself. Too many times I have seen people just whip our their cell phones to film when things like this take place. Hopefully if the perpetrator uses her credit cards they can trace it and find him.


Posted by stop, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Feb 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

[Portion removed.] any talk about race is turned around to make non white person sound ''riled up''. like white man alex jones info wars.com says, ''any attempt to do good in america is turned around to makes it look bad''. speak on equality for non whites ,you are told to ''calm down''. don't tell a black man to calm down in public, because a black person of authority told another black man to ''calm down'' and the other black man was ready to riot. if you don't like the ideas of non whites ,why bother expressing vitriol just because someone wants to talk ''race''. of course you will gewt ''riled up'' about any talk about race. maybe you should seek help for you violent white attitude. iof course thou will turn it around to make the non white look bad. you're scared of black men. and your comments are fueling hatred. you get what you give.if you don't like to discuss ''race'' ,you are showing you're racisty. black men love to talk race. white racist get shrieky just for bringing up the subject. so ,go on, make another derogatory ''blame all blacks for not calming down''.you are a racist white and live with your anger. you must be scared frustrated white man. so ,pull down the shades and have fun with yourself. go to europe and see if they want your deranged white american self there. they have names for you.


Posted by come , a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by tell, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

JustMe is a registered user.

Dear "stop",

I am afraid I have a very difficult time reading and understanding what you wrote, due to sentence structure, lack of capitalization, grammatical errors, and disorganized thoughts. I really want to understand, mind you, but it is difficult. But you do come across as very upset, and I would like to understand why. Can you please calm down and say what you have to say in a way that we can easily read?


Posted by AllYouCanEat, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 3, 2014 at 8:02 am

"Stop"

Another fine example of public education.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm

JustMe is a registered user.

AllYouCanEat, I was not going to say that. Whatever education he got or did not get is in the past. The fact is that this person feels wronged and angry about it. He/she needs to work this out for his/her own sake. Extremely angry people make good movie fodder but lousy neighbors. There is a need to communicate here, I would like to understand more fully what the perceived problems are.

But I am afraid I have to reject the notion that all black men are angry and unable to calm down. MLK was, I suspect, more sad and determined than angry, and he stood for non-violence, and last I heard he was black.

I don't care what ethnicity a person may be, if you come at them with violent anger, they will probably react in kind. This does not solve any problems, it just perpetuates them. If you come at a person with polite respect and rational behavior, that person will probably also respond in kind. If they don't, then they have issues and should probably seek therapy. That therapy should be guided towards understanding why one would react to kindness with vitriol.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center
By Elena Kadvany | 21 comments | 3,382 views

Is HBO's Silicon Valley Any Good?
By Anita Felicelli | 23 comments | 2,220 views

Finding mentors in would-be bosses
By Jessica T | 0 comments | 1,926 views

PAUSD Leadership Challenges
By Paul Losch | 23 comments | 1,723 views

A memorable Paly prom
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 1,108 views