News

Man arrested for armed robbery of pedestrian

East Palo Alto man threatens man with BB gun, steals his cash and cell phone

Palo Alto police arrested 22-year-old Irvin Alejandro Valadez Castaneda of East Palo Alto on Sunday evening, April 6, for allegedly robbing a pedestrian with a BB gun.

Police received a 911 call at 10:05 p.m. from a man reporting that he had just been robbed at gunpoint in the 3800 block of Middlefield Road. He had been walking northbound on the east sidewalk on Middlefield when he saw a vehicle pull onto Ensign Way in front of him. Castaneda got out, walked toward him and allegedly pointed a black gun at him, demanding his cash and cell phone. The man complied. Castaneda demanded that the man produce his identification card. He then used the stolen cell phone to take a picture of the man's identification and allegedly threatened to "come after him" if he reported the phone as stolen to police. Castaneda fled in a vehicle northbound on Middlefield Road, according to police.

The victim, a man in his 40s, gave police a description of Castaneda and his vehicle. At 10:11 p.m., a patrol officer in the 1500 block of Edgewood Road saw a man matching the alleged robber's description exit a parked car matching the getaway vehicle's description, a gold 2001 Mitsubishi Galant sedan. The officer detained the man for investigation and saw the victim's cell phone in plain view inside the man's car.

Officers arrested Castaneda without incident and found a BB gun inside the car. Police booked Castaneda into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for robbery and criminal threats, both of which are felonies.

Detectives are investigating if the suspect is connected to any other robberies in Palo Alto or surrounding communities. Anyone with information about this incident or Castaneda is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Good
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Just silly coincidence that 1500 Edgewood is at the famous Newell bridge.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by watchteam
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

[Portion removed] residents of Palo Alto will call the police and good chances you will be caught. Keep up the good work PA residents and keep calling. It's our great neighborhood watch team!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

Three pieces of good news, one, the pedestrian is safe and sound, two, the PAPD did an excellent job, and three, this idiot, even a failure as a thief, will be out of circulation for a while


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

Three pieces of good news, one, the pedestrian is safe and sound, two, the PAPD did an excellent job, and three, this idiot, even a failure as a thief, will be out of circulation for a while


 +   Like this comment
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

Cell Phone Companies -- Please, Please put auto-dead-switch software into all phones so thieves won't bother to steal them. In the meantime, the rest of us can foil them with Prey Project -- free phone wiping software. If everyone did this, then the thieves would soon learn it's useless to steal a cell phone.

This happened in front of the Mormon Church, where I attend, and around the corner from my house. I walk this area a lot. Scary to think this happened in my 'safe' neighborhood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Musical - what does your comment mean?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Again, kudos to the PAPD. Good work !


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 12:03 am

Bru is a registered user.

Just walking along minding his own business on a busy street in Palo Alto and some robs him ... this city is having major problems when things like this seem to happen fairly regularly.
PAPD - - - AWESOME! ... what a rapid and great job!

In case anyone wants to know, 3800 block of Middlefield appears to be between Meadow and Charleston.

Does anyone ever follow up on some of the lowlifes that make the news like this in Palo Alto. I bet virtually all of them just throw their lives away. So, I hope this person gets a very very long sentence and that society will only fare to trust him again when he is an old man. Stories like this just really bug me a lot.

>>>>> AND as musical mentions: Just silly coincidence that 1500 Edgewood is at the famous Newell bridge.

This is just one of the reasons the Newell Rd. bridge should be torn down and not rebuilt.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 12:05 am

Bru is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2014 at 12:44 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 1:00 am

rick is a registered user.

@Gethin >> thief will be out of circulation for a while

And he won't be happy when he gets back out. If I were the victim, I'd check up on my life insurance and look into a concealed carry permit. Or we can just hope this Castaneda guy has a poor memory of the ID that held such interest to him. How many previous victims, perhaps with young families, were too intimidated to report similar assaults??


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 1:55 am

Bru is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:02 am

Bru is a registered user.

>> Hmmmm asked - Where's your outrage about your resident who went crazy wasted and attacked a bunch of people the other night?

I don't feel the need to get worked up about that since no real harm was done and it is a one-off crazy lunatic, probably on drugs.

I am very concerned about the safety of Palo Altans walking our own streets and I have read over and over for years now people getting attacked - maybe not frequently - thank goodness, but periodically how some of us are being assaulted robbed and mugged. That is my worry and when I see something thats poke the bad guys in the eye - I like to get all happy about it. It's nice to see the good guys win ... or do you disagree?

I often will take a late night walk, or ever very early morning walk, and I would hate to see some car following me, and then stop and some crazed thugs assault me with a gun. I can barely think of anything worse, and I have a lot sympathy for the victim in this and I think so do most Palo Altans.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2014 at 10:38 am

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[Portion removed.] This was a robbery w/a BB gun. terrifying, but ultimately stupid. Palo Alto has had these crimes for decades. There's a lot that can happen that is much worse - robbery w/injury, getting killed, sexual assault, mayhem - the list goes on and on. What happened in this case was ultimately pretty harmless to the victim, thankfully.


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Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 1:29 pm

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We won't know about "ultimately pretty harmless" until the perpetrator is released. This victim will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. One count of second degree robbery, out in 12 months. Let's just hope he is assigned a really lousy lawyer.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I'd rather look over my shoulder than have to recover from physical injuries and look over my shoulder. I'm sure those attacked by Minaki the other night aren't happy, either.


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Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Bru is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Attacks by unbalanced people in Palo Alto, like suicides by train, are a terrible tragedy, but they are not chronic, they are not deliberate evil and a constant threat, and each one is different meaning there is no one thing we can do or one way to look at them.

On the other side we have had a pretty constant but thankfully infrequent muggings, robberies or attacks on people who are just walking in the street minding their own business. This concerns me. I think it ought to concern all Palo Altans, and I think it ought to concern you, [portion removed.]


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm

village fool is a registered user.

The police used Taser on a teenager (17) who broke mirrors of parked cars by Mitchel Park back in June 2012. It seemed that the taser usage escalated that incident. link- Web Link
I wrote then that
"
... Maybe kid damaging cars "just" wanted to follow Palo Alto High tradition?
In no way I'm justifying any type of vandalism....
I'm just wondering, hypothetically, of course, what would have happened then, if Gunn's new track was damaged by Tongan/Hispanic/African American group tradition?...
"

Is it possible that the perspective as to whether harm was done or not is due to the vandal's address or the vandal's ability to obtain the services of a hi-profile lawyer?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Village Fool - your last sentence shows your wisdom and awareness of how things work.


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Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Bru is a registered user.

Village Fool
> It seemed that the taser usage escalated that incident.

Glad to know your OPINION on that incident, but don't try to pass it off as fact or your have it contributing to the paranoid delusions of others.

There at least several cases reported here and discussed where rich Paly kids have committed crimes and not been held accountable, where PERHAPS kids from other areas might have. Who knows if those other kids are given passes in their home area where perhaps Paly kids might not have been. That is really not the issue that this incident raises.

Corruption happens everywhere by those who feel they can get away with it, so how corruption and injustice enters into any discussion is a very complicated subject that is not going to properly or productively be discussed here, only used to score cheap political drama and needle people unfairly by those with some kind of grudge.

The fact is that the most serious danger and anxiety to Palo Alto people is the idea they might face violent crime while outside just walking around. My Grandmother, bless her soul, used to walk from Crescent Park to downtown every single day - SAFELY - that is what Palo Alto used to be like. Today, I would not feel comfortable for her to do that, and I barely feel comfortable myself when I read stories like this. I consider this unacceptable.

When I complain about airplane noise the more nasty folks here tell me that I decided to live here so I should just accept it. Well, turnabout ought to be fair play then too ... I decided to live here where it used to be safe, but if I complain about it not being safe now, a different set of nasty folks find some other way to attack me. Attacks, fun as they might be for those without a life, are not discussions and don't add anything to the forum in my opinion.

The sensible thing to do, which probably explains why it cannot seem to be talked about here, is to prioritize problems and discuss what might be done to prevent them, rather than allow people from outside the area to come in here not to contribute but to carp about political correctness. The problem of street crime is a chronic serious problem in Palo Alto. So, if it's OK to discuss that, it might also be OK to break incidents down analytically as to where the perpetrators originate from?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

village fool is a registered user.

@Bru - Thank you for your detailed response

You ended your comment asking:
".. it might also be OK to break incidents down analytically as to where the perpetrators originate from?"
I am assuming that you asked for my OPINION. So - yes, I think it might be OK to " break incidents down analytically as to where the perpetrators originate from", as you noted.

However, one can argue that it may easier and cheaper to replace a car's broken mirror, than clean egg's residue on a car. The cleanup was needed due to "local tradition".

Cars mirrors were vandalized by Mitchel Park by "outsiders". The police used TASERs, then (I provided the link, above).

Here are two links relating to the cars damaged by eggs. "Insiders/local Tradition" : Web Link, Web Link

I totally condemn any type of vandalism.
And I am still wondering if it is possible that the perspective as to whether harm was done or not is due to the vandal's address or the vandal's ability to obtain the services of a hi-profile lawyer?


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