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Late-night robbery reported in downtown Palo Alto

Police: Robber befriends man, then steals his wallet Wednesday night

A robber who befriended his intended victim at the downtown Palo Alto 7-Eleven Wednesday night later stole the man's wallet, police are reporting.

The victim, a man in his 60s, was not injured. The robber is at large, according to a police press release.

The pair had met outside of the Waverley Street convenience store and, after talking for a few minutes, agreed to go buy a cup of coffee together. Once they were in the 300 block of University Avenue, at about 11:30 p.m., the victim took his wallet out to get money, and the thief promptly snatched it out of his hands, police said.

The victim told police the robber also pepper sprayed him in the face, although officers said the man showed no signs of exposure to pepper spray. Officers also did not find any evidence of discharged pepper spray in the area.

The robber ran away on Waverley, toward Menlo Park. The victim told police he saw something shiny in one of the robber's hands that could have been a knife, but he was not sure.

A witness to the incident saw the victim getting up off the sidewalk as the robber ran away. The witness went to the victim's aid and called police after the man said he had just been robbed. Police said they do not know how the victim ended up on the ground, as he did not report being struck or pushed by the robber.

Surveillance camera footage from outside the 7-Eleven shows the two men together shortly before the robbery. The robber is a black male, between his 20s and 40s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, wearing all black clothing and a white watch cap. He was unshaven.

Detectives do not believe this incident is connected to the armed robbery that occurred in the 200 block of Hamilton Avenue in the early morning hours of July 14, 2014. In that case, a man of unknown race used a handgun to rob a pedestrian of his cell phone and wallet at about 1:15 a.m.

Police are asking anyone with information about Wednesday's incident to call 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the department's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Jocelyn Dong

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