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Two men attempt robbery in downtown Palo Alto

Original post made on May 16, 2013

Two men, one of whom was armed with a handgun, attempted to rob three women in downtown Palo Alto on the 700 block of Emerson Street last night at about 10 p.m.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, 9:55 AM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Marianne
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2013 at 10:19 am

There are many burnt out lights in city light poles all over downtown, especially the alleys where employees of businesses pass in the middle of the night (because that's where the exit doors are). Other than considering cameras, the utilities department needs to be on top of these things on their own and not waiting for someone to report that.

Lighting is necessary for safety reasons.


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Posted by wally
a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2013 at 10:21 am

This is what happens when you have 3 police cars at the Stanford Ave Starbucks and zero police cars downtown.


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2013 at 10:40 am

Wow. 2 male would-be robbers, 1 gun, 3 female victims. I am impressed that the women successfully scattered in 3 different directions, thwarting the bad guys. Reads like the robbers are remarkably inept (thank goodness)AND the women are incredibly remarkable. If those women are reading this: KUDOS TO YOU!


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Posted by Elizabeth Maulick
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

Wally- I think your comment about the police is so inappropriate. The police office work long hours - and put their lives at risk for all of us. Who are you to judge? Support the people that support us. Do you take a break?


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Posted by Ned
a resident of Southgate
on May 16, 2013 at 10:52 am

Wally, and you're certain that 3 police cars were at the Starbuck's on Stanford Avenue precisely or just prior to this robbery taking place? And you're equally certain that zero police officers were downtown at that time? And how did you figure that out I have to ask. Yeah, that's a real qualified, credible complaint. No mention or expressing any frustration with the robbers who perpetrated the crime, just a cheap shot at the officers. Unreal.


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Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

I don't know how accurate Wally is on those numbers, but I CAN say that I watched 3 of our Midtown Safeway employees chase a couple of thieves and come back empty handed, while I was checking out and leaving the other day.
When I left the parking lot, heading south, one our PA's Finest in an SUV was sitting in the church parking lot, almost directly across from the lot. REALLY! No help from him.
If they sit somewhere, they should sit where they can help watch for something - Safeway, Chase bank, CVS, Walgreens. The church isn't getting robbed daily!
BTW - he was not checking our speed with radar either!


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Posted by Elizabeth Maulick
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

Police officers cannot be at the crime of the scene always. They might be at Starbucks having a meeting to talk about a case. There have been so many budget cuts for police and firemen in our area. They have to do a lot more than just give tickets for dangerous drivers , and be at the scene of the accident or crime- but they do hours of follow up on cases that affect many of us on a daily basis like the crimes in your neighborhood. The case of these women- they were lucky they got away safely. Most likely the police will be investigating it for a while now- there work has just begun. Support your local police and firemen that can't afford to live in the area- you might have an emergency some day and realize their value as I have more than once!


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 16, 2013 at 11:41 am

What's the bigger problem, lack of police or lack of probation officers?


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Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

The biggest problem is too many poor people [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] who see a bunch of people with money in Palo Alto, money that they need for drugs, booze, food.....whatever. When there are this many people who "need" the money, there's no possibility of enough cops to be everywhere to catch them.


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Posted by big al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Gail
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Palo Altans and our inept city council members are getting what they asked for. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] They want more homeless shelters and opportunity centers. And ugly, massive low income housing structures popping up around town. And they don't want security cameras downtown. And they don't want to crack down on loitering and begging. What is happening to our fair city!


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Posted by Ned
a resident of Southgate
on May 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

KP, I believe that officers driving an SUV are supervisors or command officers. If you saw the officer nearby, he may have very well responded to the original call of the theft and was on a perimeter post. It's likely that an employee who remained in the store called the police to report the theft. There were probably several other officers posted at the likely routes of escape, given the timing of the call and how quickly they arrived. The thieves probably aren't going to stay close to the scene of the crime, and I believe the responding officers would account for these factors.

If you saw the employees chase the thief, and return empty handed, and then saw the officer as you were leaving afterward, then the scenario I described is a likely possibility. I highly doubt that the officer you saw in the SUV was sitting there prior to the theft, heard the call, saw the employees chasing the guys, and did nothing. Neither of us know for certain of course, but it seems like there would be more likely explanations other than the complete disregard by the officer that you suggest.


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Posted by Sick of it all!
a resident of Barron Park
on May 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I am so sick of people talking about poor people. Heck, I work my butt off and I still don't have a lot of money but I don't go around robbing folks.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Professorville
on May 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Wally
a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm

"Wally- I think your comment about the police is so inappropriate."

No one else works long hours? Do you think Palo Alto police deal with even HALF of the felonies that Redwood City police does?

I see the same thing over and over and over. It used to be the Colorado Ave 7-11.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Go downtown sometime after dark. See how few police there are. Ask yourself what kind of city Palo Alto is now with robberies occurring within a couple blocks of the PD again and again and again.

If you went into a store/bank/utility/fast food/etc and ended up in a huge line full of other frustrated customers would you be happy to hear the excuse "oh well we only have 2 cashiers right now."

That is going to be the response. Oh we only have ___ officers at that time of day.

If you're going to retire and get "3 @ 50" for the rest of your life, while everyone else faces working until their 75 or 80, you'd better work even HARDER. Because those are THEIR tax dollars you're retiring on. Those are their tax dollars you saved up those 12 weeks of vacation for padding your pension.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Really?
a resident of University South
on May 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm

You all are focused on the police and where they should be - at all times. The police cannot be everywhere. We as neighbors also need to watch out and help ourselves.

I am a single woman - who walks from my home to University Avenue at least 3-4 times a week - at night - alone. I grew up in Palo Alto and am disappointed that I now feel the need to carry pepper spray with me.

Just last night, I was fortunate I guess to have just missed this past incident. I was there in that exact location about 30 minutes prior - alone!

It's sad. I'm frustrated! But I know bashing the PAPD is not the answer. The PAPD has been there every time I have needed them. They have responded to every call in my neighborhood with urgency and professionalism.

Let's all put this energy together and do something constructive, like help the PAPD and help to make our community safer. I don't know what that answer is - and I really don't need negative feedback - I just want out streets to be safer!!!!


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Posted by wally
a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm

yet another **robbery **not murder...had San Jose on my mind for a moment


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