News

Police arrest Palo Alto street-robbery suspect Villivuni Fono

21-year-old man is third person arrested in connection with series of weapon-related street crimes

A 21-year-old East Palo Alto man has been arrested in connection with a string of 14 violent street robberies in Palo Alto dating back to Sept. 20, 2010.

Villivuni Fono was arrested for two of the robberies and is a person of interest in one other case, according to police. He is the third suspect who has been arrested in connection with the robberies.

Palo Alto police detectives arrested Fono on Wednesday (Jan. 5) at 5:30 p.m. He was booked into the San Jose Main Jail Wednesday night.

Fono is suspected of the Oct. 27 robbery in the 500 block of Fulton Street. Two men approached a 27-year-old victim near his home. They engaged the victim in conversation and one of the men pulled out a handgun and pointed it at him, police said.

The victim feared for his safety and gave his property to the robbers, who fled with his messenger bag and wallet. The victim was able to positively identify Fono as the suspect wielding the firearm. Police are still trying to identify another suspect.

On Nov. 5, 2010, a victim's wallet was stolen during a robbery in the 500 block of Forest Avenue. A vehicle containing at least three persons approached the victim, displayed a firearm and demanded the victim's wallet. The robbers' vehicle was later located in East Palo Alto and a 16-year-old juvenile suspect was taken into custody and booked into Juvenile Hall.

Ana Loiloi Umufuke of East Palo Alto was arrested in connection with the robbery on Nov. 19, 2010. Information discovered during the investigation also led detectives to Fono.

The Palo Alto Police Department is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for committing the string of robberies that have plagued the city since September. Twelve of the 14 robberies were committed with a firearm or other weapon.

Anyone with information about any of these crimes are encouraged to call Palo Alto police at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be made at paloalto@tipnow.org.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by citizen
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

this should be a 2 strike offense !


Like this comment
Posted by WHO CARES
a resident of Triple El
on Jan 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Think we heard this story before. Last time the police apprehended a "person of interest" the city manager offered a $10,000 reward.


Like this comment
Posted by Joey
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm

We want to see a mug shot!
The people deserve to know who this man is.


Like this comment
Posted by Klaxx
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 7, 2011 at 9:38 am

So, is PAPD investigating the EPA True Blue Crips gang with this arrest?


Like this comment
Posted by Welldone
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2011 at 9:50 am

Thank you PAPD for finding and arresting this suspect.


Like this comment
Posted by Picture-Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

There is a picture of the person arrested by the police in today's Daily Post.


Like this comment
Posted by Take care.
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2011 at 10:25 am

He has been arrested as a suspect. He hasn't been convicted. That is an important distinction. Can we please wait for the outcome of a hearing before his picture is posted everywhere?

I appreciate the PAPD's good work, but the suspect has rights. He is innocent until proven guilty. I hope our other local papers will take care to act civilly and wait until the man is proven to be a criminal before they treat him like one, as the Daily Post has done.

I don't like that paper. They are sensationalist and are too willing to attack individuals rather than simply report on the news. Best used for fish wrap only.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2011 at 10:35 am

Yes. Thank you PAPD for your hard work to keep us safe!


Like this comment
Posted by Picture-Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2011 at 10:38 am

> He is innocent until proven guilty

True .. but concealing a suspect's physical identify is not one of the basic rights of the American legal system.

One of the reasons that releasing a suspect's picture is that if other victims of this, or other crimes, recognize the arrestee as having robbed/assaulted them, they can contact the police, possibly adding adding charges to the case being assembled against the suspect.

This is not a perfect system, so while the "benefit of the doubt" is awarded to the accused, there is no reason to hobble the police in the process.

As to the Daily Post--it does the job the other papers won't/don't do.


Like this comment
Posted by Darlene
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

I thought the person of interest was "a black male in his 20's with slender build." Are Fono and Umufuke suspects in all of the crimes or just the 3?


Like this comment
Posted by John Milton
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 7, 2011 at 11:36 am


Black, white, islander, latino, asian - what the heck difference does it make. A bad guy (or gal) is a bad guy. Color of skin or ethnic origin doesn't make one a criminal, it only helps to identify an individual.


Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 7, 2011 at 11:59 am

Good job, PAPD.


Like this comment
Posted by To Darlene
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Isn't the black male being sought the one robbing people at their doorways & in south Palo Alto, I think it was Charleston Center? If I recall correctly, there have been the downtown robberies these guys are getting nabbed for, & then more recently, the ones with the black male suspect. Oh, yes, & the white guy attempted rapist, in a different class of violent crime.


Like this comment
Posted by Guest
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Nice job, PAPD.


Like this comment
Posted by Andrea
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Great work PAPD!


Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:12 am

Thank you and bravo, PAPD!


Like this comment
Posted by who cares
a resident of Triple El
on Jan 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm

another street robbery after midnight Saturday 8th, same describtion of suspect and MO as previous robberies. Bravo PAPD indeed!?


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Good job PAPD. However, I hear that the United States Marshals Service's Fugitive Task Force played a big part in arresting this guy.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Good work PAPD. Let's hope he's the actual person who was responsible for the last robbery, if not more. In addition, I hope the PAPD will be able to the name(s) of his accomplice(s).

I'm just glad to have another criminal, regardless of color, off the street.


Like this comment
Posted by Lori
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm

We should thank the U.S. Marshals for their help. Good work by all to bring this violent criminal to justice. Thank god that no one was hurt.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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