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Police release sketch of man wanted for strong-arm robbery

Original post made on Oct 6, 2008

Police released a sketch today (Friday) of a man wanted in connection with a strong-arm robbery Sunday night in Palo Alto. A woman walking home alone on Loma Verde Avenue near Alma Street was knocked down and robbed about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Police Agent Dan Ryan said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 10, 2008, 4:13 PM

Comments (52)

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 10:34 am

When is our city going to take this seriously and stop grandstanding about the "color" of palo alto and the dangers of plastic bags? Can't we get back to the basics of governing?


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Posted by anther citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 10:49 am

This kind of criminal activity is very concerning to me as I am female, and often walk alone in these very areas.

I'd like to know if the police feel these crimes are connected? Is one individual responsible? I'd appreciate more details to better protect myself, as I do not have the luxury of walking with someone else.

Thanks,
Another 'Citizen'


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Posted by NotJustMe
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:15 am

Police better do something about it before they put PA under the CRIMECITYUSA category!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:19 am

In the past couple of months there have been many muggings in the vicinity of Alma, Caltrain, Colorado. We keep hearing police reports but we never hear any follow up. Are the police doing anything in solving these crimes? I don't mean this negatively, but do we have any positive news that they are getting closer to finding any of these culprits?

I am wondering if there is some type of gang initiation involved here. This may not be the same individual, but it could be the same gang preying on the same area for brownie points.


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Posted by homeowner
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:26 am

Maybe the Police will send a woman officer to the area as
a way of catching the perpetrators?

Who else likes this idea?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Moi
a resident of University South
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:58 am

Decoy officer. Great idea.
I, too, want to hear follow-up reports on the status of the investigations.
How sad that one cannot walk after dusk and feel/be safe any more. . . .


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Probably not gang initiation
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Sounds like simple robbery and battery.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Super D
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:45 pm

It is alarming to hear about this happening in PA. I'm betting that the criminal is not a resident of our fine city; he's just coming over for the easy pickings. If he does ever get caught, the liberal courts will give him probation so he can come back and do it again another time.


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Posted by 2nd Ammendment
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:05 pm

If this woman had been carrying a hand gun, for her personal protection, this could have turned out to be much better situation. The perp could now be dead, and the woman not battered.

The Supreme Court has now established that the ownership of guns is an individual right, not a state right. It is now time for California to allow individuals to carry their indivdual right. This will put an end to this type of crime.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Hello!!! Wake up!!! There is a meth epidemic going on in EPA and drug problems galore in EPA yet Palo Alto authorities bury their head in the sand. If you want to live here better lock up and hope for the best because it looks like you are on your own. I suggest getting a big dog.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Big Dog
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Interestingly I don't think any of the recent attacks have happened to people walking dogs - please correct me if I am wrong, but it does seem that dogs are doing their part. Of course the attackers may just be assuming that people walking dogs aren't carrying any money with them.

In dog we trust.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Listen people PA Police are doing there best. Give them a break. If there weren't doing there jobs. You would be able to walk out of your house let alone drive your cars.

PALO ALTO POLICE ARE THE BEST


 +   Like this comment
Posted by me
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:30 pm

woof woof! Now just let us keep our companions and loved ones off the leash in the parks! They work hard protecting us, let them have some freedoms too....

In Dog we Trust II


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 2nd Ammendment
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:34 pm

In the immediate term, we can, and should, keep shotguns or handguns in our own homes. At least this will diminish the threat of home invasions. If we do not, this street crime will come into our homes. However, the best solution is for California to allow concealed handguns to be carried by law-abiding, non-felon, American citizens.


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Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:51 pm

But in this case, if the assailant ran up behind the woman and knocked her down, wouldn't he have taken her gun as well as the backpack? Most people wouldn't walk down the street with the gun in their hand, turning and pointing it at every jogger who goes by, would they? And I don't think you can get away with killing someone who steals your backpack, even if you have a concealed weapon permit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Laura
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:55 pm

The meth epidemic is just as much of a problem outside of EPA, if not moreso. Your fair city has its fair share of meth problems, just as it did when I was in high school there.

Locking up doesn't do any good for those who have to be on the street. Geting a dog isn't the right thing for everyone - most of PA housing is rental & dogs aren't allowed.


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Posted by ??
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:30 pm

This is the sort of thing that a bad economy creates. You (palo Altans) didnt want the Bailout plan passed and are trying to vote out politicians who voted for it. This is the direct result of the bad economic times. You will see more of this since there will be more desperation by some people to survive as they lose jobs and homes etc.... stuff that Palo Altans dont worry about......or care about...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To ??
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Hey ??,

Let's stick to first order derivatives here.... Stay on topic!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ANONYMOUS
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm

I grew up in PA. Elementary school, Jordan and Paly. When I went to Paly kids and parents had their respective drug problems. Alcohol is a drug!

I continue to be shocked and awed at the denial level of PA residents who blame folks from across the ramp for problems in their own sweet neighborhoods.

Get a grip people! Drugs and crime are quite portable. A walking criminal probably lives nearby.....hello! Have you driven around south PA at night? Try it. Notice the glass on the ground from broken windows.

The reality is that there's an epidemic of chemical abuse and economic despair in PA.

STOP WHINING BE THE SOLUTION.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ANONYMOUS
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm

I grew up in PA. Elementary school, Jordan and Paly. When I went to Paly kids and parents had their respective drug problems. Alcohol is a drug!

I continue to be shocked and awed at the denial level of PA residents who blame folks from across the ramp for problems in their own sweet neighborhoods.

Get a grip people! Drugs and crime are quite portable. A walking criminal probably lives nearby.....hello! Have you driven around south PA at night? Try it. Notice the glass on the ground from broken windows.

The reality is that there's an epidemic of chemical abuse and economic despair in PA.

STOP WHINING BE THE SOLUTION.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ANONYMOUS
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm

I grew up in PA. Elementary school, Jordan and Paly. When I went to Paly kids and parents had their respective drug problems. Alcohol is a drug!

I continue to be shocked and awed at the denial level of PA residents who blame folks from across the ramp for problems in their own sweet neighborhoods.

Get a grip people! Drugs and crime are quite portable. A walking criminal probably lives nearby.....hello! Have you driven around south PA at night? Try it. Notice the glass on the ground from broken windows.

The reality is that there's an epidemic of chemical abuse and economic despair in PA.

STOP WHINING BE THE SOLUTION.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm

It is a sad fact (and I don't see any comment on this, above) but one cannot safely walk after dark any more. It is that simple. There may have been extenuating circumstances why this woman was out alone at this hour, but there have been enough recent incidents (and for many years) that she should have known better. I don't say that this was her fault (or the other victims of recent assaults in our area), but how long will it take for people to realize that after dark (and somethimes daylight) is just not the time to be out on the street alone?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 3:04 pm

David

Many people do have to be out after dark, and after dark can get quite early in the winter months. Many people do not have the luxury or the means to get home from work by car, and if they do have to come home by bus or train, they will need to walk.

The solution is not for Palo Altans to be scared into their homes. That would give these hoodlums the victory. No, we need to continue our lives taking sensible precautions. If someone has to walk from the train or bus stop, perhaps a family member can meet them. If we carry flashlights at night or wear a whistle around our necks, that might help. If residents chose not to have large vegetation providing safe dark havens for villains to hide in beside the sidewalk. If we could get better street lights too.

Don't give in to the criminals by staying home.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 2nd Ammendment
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:04 pm

If law-abiding, non-felon American citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons, we will have a chance on the street, according to our own will to defend oursleves. If folks don't have the nerve or will to defend themselves, then that is their problem, at least they made that choice.

If my wife (or me) hears footsteps behind us at night, we will have our hand on the weapon of legal choice. We will not go down without a fight. Imagine that our weapon was a handgun, not just pepper spray or a set of keys or a bent credit card. We need real weapons to defeat the predators!

I am pro choice on this issue: Decide to fight, or not. We just need that chocie.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don G
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm

The police can only be so many places at once. It's up to law-abiding, good neighbors to watch out for each other against these thugs. If I hear something outside on my street at night or voices raised, I'm up at the window and looking out or going outside to investigate. The more eyes we have out there, the less opportunity they will have and we'll be catching them. I've been a victim of theft this year and personally know people in my neighborhood who have been assaulted and robbed. Times are getting tough for the hard-working, and tougher for the desperate opportunists who prey on others. It's us vs. them...I know my neighbors and they know me and we watch out for each other. We're a community...start acting like one.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by alex
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Hey! Don't let a "them" rob you of your peace of mind. Breathe, relax, and reach out to youth at risk as best we can.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marge
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Pepper spray. And keep it very handy (easy to do with pepper spray). Not a full solution, but can sure help. Also a walking stick. Some of collapsible, so can be shortened while at work or whatever, but full length when walking. Handy for lots of uses.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 6, 2008 at 5:52 pm

The police were out this afternoon around 3:00 along Alma, close to N. California. Do you think they were canvasing the neighborhood or just fund raising?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what_business?
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2008 at 6:11 pm

The offenders are familiarly "dark-skinned" variants from out of town, without exception. It's high time police stopped suspicious people and ask them "what business" bring them to Palo Alto? That should be enough to scare these low-lifes from preying on the innocents.

Of course, knowing the criminal justice system that is heavily tilted towards protecting criminals, I don't think that is going to happen. This means Palo Alto will remain open season for predators from all over.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by statistical blunder
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 6, 2008 at 6:32 pm

Probably the number one thing you can do to lower crime rates in the long term is continue to support Roe v Wade and bills to increase local crime fighting funding (as difficult as PAPD makes it with the incessant parking tickets)

There is compelling statistical evidence supporting the positive correlation between unwanted pregnancies and criminal youth.

There is also compelling statistical evidence supporting the relationship between increased law enforcement feet on the street and decreased crime rates.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm

My husband enjoys a late night walk before retiring to bed and unless it is raining really hard he is out in all weathers. He tends to wrap up warm and put his hood up. He has a beard and although he is caucasian and lives in a nice house, he has been stopped by the cops many times and asked what he is doing. When he speaks to them in a friendly fashion and tells them where he lives, they wish him a good evening and let him go his way, but he knows they are still watching him so he returns straight home.

We do not mind this a bit and are glad the police are out there watching for those who may be up to no good. Probably, if he was of any other race, the individual would be very upset.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I live on loma verde a few blocks in from alma. I am really uncomfortable about this recent attack. would really like to see the palo alto police around here both day and night. I NEVER see them in this neighborhood between alma and middlefield/oregon and east meadow. that would give me some piece of mind.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sally
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 8:44 pm

I don't know why Palo Alto Online is not reporting on this story. Maybe because it is happening in south Palo Alto?

Anyway, the Mercury-News says the PA PD has had 4 officers patrolling the California Avenue area for the past month.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 6, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I agree that a more visible police presence in our neighborhoods would be welcome, just driving through.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 9:29 pm

California Avenue is not midtown/south palo alto. I am talking south of cal ave/oregon expressway. I am home often in the day and come home at night--I really never see police patrolling this area. Instead of lurking on Alma waiting to ticket someone driving fast, they could be also cruising our neighborhood streets.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2008 at 12:04 am

I, too, wish that the police so frequently observed sitting in cars or on motorbikes on the corners of streets around Midtown were there for our protection, rather than to ticket motorists.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by justmike
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:12 am

At least this paper gave us a description of the suspect. The Mercury gave us his height and weight but not the skin color of the suspect.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 7, 2008 at 9:30 am

FYI - I thought I caught a teaser this morning for a story on this to be on today (Tuesday) on KRON Channel 4 @ 11AM News in case anyone can view that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2008 at 9:47 am

I wish I could carry my pocket .357 magnum with me at times. Taking a walk at night, I carry a pocket knife. Sometimes I get approached by large dogs, so far they have been easy to scare away. With a gun, if I got approached by "punks", at least I could pull it out and use it as a deterrent. Shooting someone is always a big deal, even for the cops. You're almost certain to end up in court, either civil or criminal. The perp's family never thinks he deserved to die, and they try to cash in. I read gun magazines, and it turns out that it's actually better to be a victim - you don't end up in court. Still, if I get approached by someone, I'd like to be ready to defend myself if absolutely necessary. It's a moot point, it'll never happen in this state. People don't like the idea of power to the people.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2008 at 10:48 am

2nd Ammendment, you have confirmed my suspicions about the intellect of gun enthusiasts by misspelling amendment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barney
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2008 at 10:58 am

"At least this paper gave us a description of the suspect. The Mercury gave us his height and weight but not the skin color of the suspect."

This is easy. The PC press never hides the race of a white criminal. If a story doesn't report the race of a perpetrator, it's safe to assume he/she is a "person of color".

I would think most people do this automatically and subconsciously. In this way, the PC nonsense unintentionally actually serves to highlight the race of non-white criminals, rather than de-emphasize it.

There was an interesting occurrence on NBC's today show a decade or so ago that serves to show how ridiculous the media's handling of the crime/race issue is. A woman who ran a self-defense course for women wishing to fend off attackers was on the show to give a demonstration of her techniques. She brought along her assistant to serve as the 'attacker' for demonstration purposes. When the assistant showed up, the show's producers were aghast to find that he was African American. They wouldn't let him go on because of the "perceptual problems" having an African American portray the attacker of a white woman - even as a self defense demonstration. They decided the host of the Today show would stand in as the attacker in the demonstration. The punch-line of this story: At the time, the male host of the show was Bryant Gumbel, an African American!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by working middleclass renter who will never be able to buy in PA
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Maybe the new muggings will stop the housing prices in PA from growing?
Burst, bubble, burst!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by alex
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2008 at 6:07 pm

The odds are much greater that you'll get hurt when you drive your car, so it's silly to dwell on it. This ain't Disneyland folks. Get used to it and grow up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2008 at 7:58 pm


While we continue to hire the illegals who work on our houses and are all over our neighborhoods with no identity and no recourse other than deportation. WAKE UP AMERICA.
30 million now. Not paying taxes, sending their money out of the country. But its cheaper right!! Keep the money in the USA hire american citizens,


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Amanda
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Oct 7, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Why don't the racist just come out and state their names instead of hiding behind a shield. Remember not all people of color are criminals and if you or your kids can wash cars or dishes stop bashing on people that do jobs you or your kids wont perform. The people that are to blame are the homeowners or businesses that use their services for their own gain. If yo pay attention to all crimes not all are committed by people of color. Who is mowing your lawn, taking care of your kids, cleanining your house!! Stop being a hyprocratical citizen and state your name to your comments!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2008 at 10:38 pm

What was she doing out walking alone at 10:30 pm? She must be nuts, and was lucky she was only robbed. Wake up Palo Alto, this isn't some utopia. We have druggies here, and muggers and other ne'er do wells roll through here just like any other town. One of the reasons Palo Alto is targeted is because folks here are so complacent about crime. That makes them easy targets.

Being aware of your surroundings at all times helps reduce the chance of a surprise attack, as does some means of self-defense.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by whiner_hater
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Illegals aren't necessarily the culprits. Lots of legals come out of EPA, Hayward, or Oakland, to Palo Alto not to work but to rob. Legals also aren't willing to work for fair wages that the illegals are willing to. So, legals, stop complaining and get to work!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Time Traveler
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2008 at 1:07 am

These kinds of things can happen during the day too. But I suggest that if you have to walk at night, walk with a flashlight on and avoid walking in dark areas where people can hide.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 8, 2008 at 8:21 am

And what makes people think the criminals don't live in Palo Alto?? We have our fair share of drug users, dealers, parolees, sex offenders, etc. It definitely makes it easier to get away if the criminals live close by.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 8, 2008 at 1:19 pm

If you walk at night, I have some suggestions on things to carry besides guns:
1) Get an old wallet, put a couple dollars and some of those fake credit cards the banks send you into it. If someone demands your wallet, hand that to them.

2) Got an old cell phone you don't use any more? Hand that over if a cell phone is demanded.

3) A can of mace or pepper spray could be carried but only used in extreme cases. Do NOT carry a gun, for many reasons.

4) A small camera for taking a picture of the getaway (if possible) and a REAL cell phone for calling 911.

Guard your life and health first, the life and health of your assailant second, your posessions third, and worry about catching him last.

Yes, I am very concerned about the meth problem, but I am more concerned about the destruction of lives by it than I am about an occasional robbery. People who manufacture or distribute meth, when caught and convicted, should never see life outside a prison again. My children are far too important to risk on the off-chance that a pusher can turn his life around and avoid destroying them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by narnia
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2008 at 9:17 am

Palo Alto is a suburb and suburbs are pretty good for crime. More so western suburbs. Houses are far apart and for some reason that escapes me most household activity is performed towards the back of the house. As a result there is no one or very few people looking towards the street:it's lonely at all times. As I am writing these words I am in one of the biggest American cities visiting my old digs and I literally walk around at all times of day or night without any fear. The historic townhouses in the neighborhood have living areas overlooking the street and the street is not too wide. Day or night there is always someone looking out. It is incredible safe. Last crime committed here, a robbery was in 1991, though some areas of the city are very crime ridden. But where the housing has a connection with the street and where housing is more concentrated crime is really low. The same where housing intermingles with business. Though my digs here are very secluded if I turn the corner there are cabs (and other cars) and people circulating 24/7. That's makes it safer.
Do i have to live in Palo Alto not walking about or going out as if my house and car are prisons ? I really would have to revise living in PA.

Of course, poverty and drugs have a lot to do with crime, not race or immigration status. Incidently in my "old" city about 45% of the population is black and the great majority are neither poor nor criminal, mostly middle class abiding citizens. The mayor is black (not the first one) and so are many of the city and regional officers. Being a college town
(many higher education institutions) means there is a very heavy percentage of educated people. There are no stats that show those educated people of color (many colors but mainly black) are any more prone to crime than any "white" and though the city has also a heavy percentage of undocumented people the stats don't confirm a higher propensity for crime than legal residents. For example the italian and irish parts of the city are traditionally a high crime places but the great majority of its italian or irish residents are not criminal. So, I don't really see an italian or irish as potential criminals just because law enforcement keeps busy in those areas. Same with african americans.
It is in fact racist and biased to immediately start accusing particular groups of committing crimes in PA and to see any representative of those as a menace.
10:00 in the evening is a very proper hour to be out- it's great specially in the summer. If that becomes a problem in Palo Alto I would have to advertise it as " the place where you want to live a prisoner of your own house and car". Who wants to live like that?
PA is so disperse that it's very difficult to police .. So, I suggest walking in the evening. If many of us do it, I guaranty that it will be much safer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by its me
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm

How about more middle class jobs? more affordable housing? community education? or just kick out everyone that doesnt make $125k and surround the city with a mote? oh, but then who would do your yardwork? certainly not you.


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