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Two knife-point robberies could be connected

Original post made on Jun 23, 2008

The circumstances were similar in two knife-point robberies that occurred in Palo Alto Thursday afternoon and Friday night.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 23, 2008, 10:14 AM

Comments (40)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2008 at 10:49 am

It doesn't take a genius to work out that these two robberies sound similar and could be connected.

It is wise to be vigilant late at night, but during the day we feel safer.

To women in particular, I recommend keeping your wallet with important valuables in an inside pocket, not in a purse. Keep the purse for make up. Keep your cell phone handy, but not conspicuous and if you can keep it til after the purse snatcher has gone, call 911 immediately.


Posted by crimestopper, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2008 at 11:30 am

400 Block of Hamilton; what is the address of the police station? This reminds me of the despicable death of the NASA scientist several years ago. Where can one feel safe? This is not a North v South Palo Alto issue.


Posted by GMC, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Its really unfortunate, but thankfully these sorts of incidents are the exception and not the rule here. Hopefully it stays that way. Unfortunately with prices going up, its going to take more than wishful thinking to keep the peace around here.


Posted by Glad the women didn't get hurt, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2008 at 3:46 pm

I don't know if this kind of robbery cases will be treated with high priority by the police. No one got killed or injured badly physically, at least not until next robbery.

My house got burglarize one month ago. Within 5 days span when it happened, there were at least three burglaries within half mile radius of my house, so definitly I saw some pattern going on. The police took some clear fingerprints from my broken windows, but I was just told that they haven't run the fingerprints through the computer after more than a month. Ether the police are really busy with serious crimes or something. How difficult it is to run the fingerprints through.


Posted by Reformist, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Decoys and undercovers are needed to bait the criminals roaming the streets looking for victims. The criminals are in the dark, so they have the advantage. Police patrols will do nothing to apprehend the suspects, but will help warn the criminals to stay in the dark and thereby avoiding capture.


Posted by glad to live somewhere safe again, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Why does the author of this piece choose to describe the thefts as "lost their purse." These women didn't lose their purses. They were aggressively, blatantly stolen, and one in broad daylight.
Unbelievable what people put up with to live in Palo Alto and Menlo Park these days.


Posted by Ed, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2008 at 1:59 am

To "Glad the women didn't get hurt". Unfortunately burglaries are property crimes and do not take priority over person crimes (as they should not). As far as "running fingerprints", they are handled by the Santa Clara County Crime Lab...and again, the homicides, stabbings, shootings, and kidnappings that occur ELSEWHERE in Santa Clara County take priority over someone's LCD TV or laptop. This is not CSI.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2008 at 10:02 am

Were both attacks by men of the same race? If so, what race were they? Residents need to know as a matter of public safety.


Posted by Citizen, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 10:21 am

Lets just say that the attacker(s) weren't Hasidic Chinese guys. The race was disclosed in the intial stories that were posted.


Posted by caucasian grandma of black children, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 11:40 am

Were both attacks by men of the same race? If so, what race were they? Residents need to know as a matter of public safety.
Posted by Kate, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, 1 hour ago



KATE,

so when crimes are committed we go after the color of people skin? should they be committed by caucasians or for example italians (where I have a USA second home italians have given a lot to do to police and FBI) we should immediately mistrust someone of that race? And what about others? Caucasians in Palo Alto , koreans in Mountain view, italians in San francisco, cubans in Miami.....
What you seem to be saying is "any time you see a black person" that person should automatically be guilty . How nice, christian and fair ! Let's lynch them, right?
Let us have a sense of proportion and wisdom. And fairness. And intelligence and knowledge-not much of these qualities in the above posts.
And here I was hoping that my grandchildren could walk the streets of palo alto without having some sort of "Kate" telling the world they are guilty and criminal because of their skin color. What advice do you have for me and my grandchildren kate? Shame on you.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Caucasian Grandma - What are you talking about? The color of someone's skin is a fact and one that everyone in this area should be aware of if this kind of attack is happening to women right now. I don't care what color he happen to be, but we have a right to know. What's wrong with knowing the color of the skin of the thug who preys on women? You are a prime example of liberal political correctness gone very wrong.

Citizen - Your remark is just odd and irrelevant. I'll just call the police myself to find out.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2008 at 12:39 pm

To put some arguments to rest.

If it was determined that there is a serial prowler mugging woman, in other words the description is similar and the police determine that it is probably the same guy, then a good description should be put out. This description would include skin color as it is the type of thing someone can see pretty easily and not changed, e.g. a beard can be trimmed differently or removed altogether.

If we have a series of similar muggings by people fitting different descriptions, then mentioning color would only put all people fitting that description at suspect status and freeing anyone else with a different description to start copycatting in the hopes that it will be blamed on the other racial description.

Now. Stop arguing. You are both right.


Posted by GMC, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Why can't we view skin color in this context as merely a physical description like height, weight, hair color, etc, rather than assuming including this information is an indictment of everyone else who shares that trait?
Would it be better if the description said, "the suspect had dark skin?"


Posted by Tom W., a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Generally I agree that there's a real risk of being afraid of sharing practical information like the race of the attacker for fear that that information will be misapplied or that you'll have the term racist thrown at you haphazardly. And I do think "caucasian grandma" isn't showing much "proportion or wisdom" by trying to scare people from acknowledging the race of an attacker by throwing out references to lynchings.

But its also important to recognize that just knowing an attacker's race, gender, and that they are taller than average isn't that helpful and doesn't really give you much to look out for. And thinking it does could easily do more harm than good.

I'm a friend Friday's victim and I also created an image of the assailant in my mind after she told me about the attack, but I realized pretty quickly her description fits way too many people around here for me to think I'm in a position to be on the lookout for a person fitting this description. And if I see someone who seems very suspicious on their own and happens to be a black male, their suspiciousness probably is more relevant than their race.


Posted by Inflamatory, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Face it, there are so few black people living in Palo Alto that it is suspicious to see them around town. Most likely, they are shopping at the grocery stores because they have no grocery stores in EPA. Otherwise, why are they roaming around Palo Alto? When we see them in our schools, most of them are from EPA on the Tinsley Act, which allows EPA kids to attend our schools. And then that is a whole subject on its own...


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Often the reason police give out a description of a suspect is not that we should be suspicious of all people fitting that description.

Say for instance, the girlfriend or a mother of a troubled teen or young man came home one night with some property that was not his own. Say they were also suspicious of the people he hung out with, that perhaps he was being evasive about his whereabouts,not going to work, or getting high on drugs and so on. Say he started boasting that he had had given some old girl what was coming to her, that perhaps he had spent hours looking at newspaper reports about one particular crime or watching all the tv news channels all evening or was acting particularly out of character. Then this wife or girlfriend realised that this man fit the description of a local crime and that at this time his whereabouts were uncertain. Maybe even he said that he wanted her to pretend they were together at that time. Possibly then that wife or girlfriend would then go to the police with those suspicions. Alternatively, if the description was completely different, it might put her suspicions to rest and she might be able to sleep at night.

I think quite often that this is the sort of reason police give out descriptions. It is not to make every person like that come under a cloud, but to get some action from the people out there that might be able to help if they had the right information to let them know that their suspicions were correct.


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm

"Face it, there are so few black people living in Palo Alto that it is suspicious to see them around town. Most likely, they are shopping at the grocery stores because they have no grocery stores in EPA. Otherwise, why are they roaming around Palo Alto?"
Inflamatory, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, 2 hours ago

Palo Alto is not your private enclave. Anybody of any color for any reason can come here for walk its streets and any public facility. You must be incredibly ignorant! Stanford has many students of every color and those too walk the streets as they see fit. Apparently it's not enough to you and Kate to be offensive and clearly want blacks out of PA, no, you must also want them to be criminalized. What a horrible lot you are.



Posted by Tom W., a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Grandma,
While it is clear to me that "Inflamatory" is being offensive and inflammatory, I don't see why its the least bit fair to accuse Kate of being offensive and especially wanting blacks out of PA. All she has said is that the race of an attacker should not be suppressed because the mention of race could offend someone or because acknowledgement of an attacker's race might reinforce someone else's prejudices.

While you might have conflated their comments for simplicity, it seems clear to me that Kate has not merited these accusations.


Posted by as one, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm

as one who was harased asaulted by white man ,but it was ME who was thrown in jail!! i was ASSAULTED and thrown in jail


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Tom,
sure, skin color is part of a police report and should not be suppressed as part of an identifier. It was not suppressed in this case as we know. When crime suspects' race is reported as caucasian I don't see many looking at any caucasian on the streets and a priori criminalizing that person. In this forum blacks were criminalized, thought of as bike stealers, burglars... etc.
Race doesn't provide a criminal profile (unless you are a new jersey state trooper*). Other identifiers-demeanor, clothing, hair, height, voice intonation, modus operandi, etc, are far more important either singly or together; so, in this forum it is the sole focus on race and no other characteristics that is disturbing.
People can be racist all they like- it's their prerogative, but under the law they are not allowed to criminalize somebody or a whole group because they decided that the important factor is the color of one's skin. Decency should also not see skin color as the one major factor but some people are not decent and I can't force them to be, I accept that.
Thank God we are past the"yellow danger" syndrome, the irish maid, always placed sometime in the bordello, the italian grocer's daughter as a mafia princess, the jews (greedy too) not allowed in some parts of the town and other racist, hurtful, unnecessary, untrue and disturbing messages of "love" . It is my hope that such profiling and stereotyping will subside but the mention of black race in this forum as the main and in some posts the only identifier does not help the cause of social fairness and cohesion or of that of " one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all". Maybe that's not a worthwhile goal for some.

* not anymore actually, since the New jersey courts decided that race wasn't a basis for intercepting people on the highway after one too many scandals. Since then, people of all colors have been complaining about speed traps in the new jersey turnpike. It's an equal opportunity ticket and that's how it should be.


Posted by Tom W., a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2008 at 8:33 pm

I feel like I agree with everything in your recent post, except it really doesn't reflect the nature of this forum, other than "Inflammatory"'s post. The first 8 posts don't even mention race and then Kate's asked what race they were. My criticism of your response to Kate and many discussions on race in America, is that people often make much wilder and more unfounded accusations under the suspicion that everyone is racists and don't feel a need to justify their accusations. A lot of the problems you mentioned in your recent post are very real, but it doesn't mean that you can attribute them to every person who broaches race in the slightest way that you don't agree with. I feel like the conversation on race in this country is very convoluted and confused because there are enough people in the media, in political positions, and generally in conversations who will try and stop a conversation short with rash and unfounded accusations of racism toward someone else in the conversation (in this case Kate), instead of listening to what they have said or soliciting that they expound on their thoughts if they suspect conclusions that they don't like


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 8:57 pm

well tom, i don't disagree with you for the most part, but you yourself chose to say "it seems clear to me that Kate has not merited these accusations" and didn't add that it is as unfair as seeing a black male and immediately attribute the stealing of bikes and burglary to him. In other words the unfairness you chose to dwell on is not accusations not merited to all who have been accused. Your point would have come across to me better if I felt that you were equally concerned with all unfairness.
Kate didn't ask " is he tall, short, what are the prominent features, the demeanor, the components of the crime itself etc, she chose to focus on race and only on race. I am not suggesting that she can't do that. I am suggesting that that focus is unfair and she is seeing the incident with "colored" glasses. Again, she is free to do that and I am free to comment on it.
Let me tell you that as far as I am concerned anybody is welcome to their prejudices and I am entitled to respond specially as I said I thought that in Palo Alto my grandchildren could walk the streets without seemingly being targeted as potential criminals.
How would you like that for any of your family who have done nothing wrong but exist peacefully?


Posted by MP, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 25, 2008 at 7:45 am

Grandma,

You say you are a white grandma of black kids? Are you Barack Hussein Obama's grandma?

The fact that you are trying to protect the description of a criminal is embarassing.

Build a wall between PA and EPA. Just about every crime I see on this site comes from EPA residents.


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

MP,
you are not just ignorant but mean as well. Nobody is trying to protect any description as you would have learned if you had read my posts or if you had the capacity a most elementary reasoning. What I said was that the emphasis on race as the sole descriptor is shameful. But maybe you have no shame.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2008 at 10:00 am

Grandma - I do take offense to the way you have decided, for whatever reason, to describe me as a racist. You don't know me. The only comment I made, after reading the article at issue, (something you could not have done and made the irrelevant comments that you have so far on this post) is to inquire about the race of the thug or thugs involved. If you actually read the article that is at the heart of this post, you would know that everything but the perpetrator's race was disclosed. I think the race (white, black, hispanic, etc. ) of the criminal who is on the loose and attacking women in my area is important. THAT'S ALL. Sorry to eliminate your ability to pontificate on how racist I am.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2008 at 10:51 am

Apparently the attacker is approximately 5'11" tall. As someone who is approximately 5'11" tall, I feel as though I have been unfairly maligned, and that I will now be criminalized wherever I go just because people are looking for someone of my height.

It's also completely unfair and should be unconstitutional to point out that the attacker was a man, because this will predispose all women who are by themselves to regard all men as potential attackers.

For purposes of not offending anyone, it would be best to say "a person was robbed at knifepoint" and not provide any specifics. After all, just because a couple of people have been mugged by men with similar appearances does not suggest that there will be another crime committed by the same person. The next mugger might very well be a 90-lb 4'10" red-headed grandmother, and then all you profilers would be outraged because "no one warned us about people who look like her!"


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:02 am

kate,
race was your only inquiry as to who might be perceived as a threat . Race only is both ineffectual ( do you consider some of the Longs Drugs employees as threats?) and naive.
If you consider it racist it's fine with me but as I said I very much would like for my grandchildren to be able to walk PA streets without them have to worry thatthe color of their skin makes them potential criminals in your eyes. You didn't inquire about the height, prominent features, the demeanor, the components of the crime itself or any other relevant factors . All you cared about was race. It's fine that you ask that and thank God it's also fine that you hear from me. Pontification is not the aim for- it's education and to tell you that that is hurtful. You seem to lack the knowledge and empathy. Any time you enter in any of our fine establishments, be it a restaurant or a doctor's office and see a colored person performing duties without a hint that you might consider them a threat you need to assess your great need for one and only one piece of information you asked for: race.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:11 am

Grandma

It is people like you protecting your own that makes it difficult for the rest of us. If your grandchildren were wearing gang related paraphanalia (if I had any idea what that looked like) it wouldn't make a difference to me how I treated them. Also, if they were wearing "Sunday best" and carrying bibles, I would treat them the same.

I know some very nice African American families and their children are among my kids' friends. I know them and like them regardless of where they live (they do live in Palo Alto) and treat them the same as any other of my kids' friends.

I know groups of kids of all and various shapes and sizes hang out in dubious places around PA and I warn my kids (not that they really need the warning as they can tell the type for themselves) to be careful who they choose to make friends with and what they do for kicks. As you and others have said, it is not race that matters, it is what the person is like and how they act, that makes them worthy of suspicion or not.

Like you, I wish that race didn't come into these discussions. But, the color of skin is one of the first things that comes up when a description about someone is made and unfortunately others take offence at this.


Posted by Oh, Quit It!, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:16 am

Grandma,

Give it up! You aren't helping anyone here! You should get along well with Mike under the topic of Page Mill rents being raised. You guys can talk till you are blue in the face, but racism will always exist. Everyone knows it isn't easy being an African-American. For you to call everyone racist when you don't even know them is ridiculous. You really should move to Oakland or EPA along with other African-Americans if you feel so much hatred here. You would feel a lot more comfortable.

Your grandkids and Stanford students probably are clean-cut, well-dressed and well-mannered so they won't be confused with criminals. And yes, people DO judge a book by its cover.

Get off your butt and go do something worthwhile like helping ec-cons get a life after leaving prison. They are harmless, according to you, so go do it!


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:23 am

Resident,

"But, the color of skin is one of the first things that comes up when a description about someone is made and unfortunately others take offence at this."

Taking offense is quite right. Don't you take offense when some of your family is considered a criminal without any reason by the simple fact of existing with the skin color they were born with? If not maybe you need to do something about your righteous indignation.

A set of cumulative factors is actually a better way of assessing danger as I learned in the many years I lived in one of America's largest cities. Singling out one factor is silly and ineffectual. Singling our race as the first and only factor is what?


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:27 am

Oh, Quit It!,

Please point out the sentence where I called people in this forum racist. Maybe you feel the descriptions apply to them?


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:27 am

Oh, Quit It!,

Please point out the sentence where I called people in this forum racist. Maybe you feel the descriptions apply to them?


Posted by grandma, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:27 am

Oh, Quit It!,

Please point out the sentence where I called people in this forum racist. Maybe you feel the descriptions apply to them?


Posted by Oh, Quit It!, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:44 am

Grandma: you are doing more harm to your grandkids by bringing up the subject to them and don't tell me that you haven't brought it up to them, with your opinions being so strong. If you really care about them, you would take them elsewhere where they could thrive amongst people like them rather than here, where you seem to think everyone is out to get them.



Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Grandma is beginning to sound very like a troll.

Perhaps it is one of her bored grandkids finding some relief from summer boredom?


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Grandma - A person's race is a relevant fact when crimes are committed. It's too bad that you do so much harm for race relations by acting like everyone is out to get you and your grandkids by the mere fact of asking for additional information about a criminal. It's a matter of public safety. It's really that simple. If anyone on this post is acting like a racist - it would be you. You have made way too many outrageous remarks here and consequently lack any credibility.


Posted by Oh, Quit It!, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Hey Kate, did you look on the postings about car towings? Grandma got confused and put your name at the top of her posting and then went on her usual troll rampage. She trolls so much that she forgot who she was supposed to be writing to!

Here's a troll definition: To deliberately post derogatory or inflammatory comments to a community forum, chat room, newsgroup and/or a blog in order to bait other users into responding.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2008 at 5:33 am

It's good to have as detailed as possible descriptions of criminals so the public can be alert, and that certainly includes race.

And I agree with the poster who noted that the purses were not lost but stolen, and should have been stated as such in the article.


Posted by jon, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2008 at 1:53 am

The problem isn't race. The problem is that one of the most privileged communities in the country is adjacent to a community just brimming with young men who aren't vested--young men who find it perfectly sensible to take your life for a $20 bill or for no reason at all.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:52 am

CCTV needs to be a priority in all downtown, midtown and parking locations. For those scared of their privacy being invaded, I ask what you would be doing that you wouldn't want seen if you were attacked?


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