News

Armed man robs woman in Palo Alto driveway

Thief threatens woman with handgun, steals purse shortly after midnight

An armed robber stole a Palo Alto woman's purse shortly after midnight today (Saturday, Jan. 8) just after she had parked her car in her driveway in the 2300 block of St. Francis Drive, near Oregon Expressway, police reported.

The woman was not injured, officer Marianna Villaescusa said.

She said a man approached the woman, pointed a handgun at her and demanded property, running off south toward Oregon after she handed over her purse.

The victim noticed a sedan with its motor running parked several houses away, but it is unknown if it is associated with the robbery, Villaescusa reported.

The man was described as a black male 18 to 20 years old, tall with a medium build, and clean shaven. He was wearing a flat-brimmed baseball cap, a grey hooded sweatshirt and baggy jeans, the woman reported.

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Villaescusa repeated a frequent police reminder to community members to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially during evening hours, and to report any suspicious activity as soon as possible.

She said it is not known if this robbery is connected to other recent robberies with similar patterns. She asked anyone with information to call the Police Department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org, or anonymous voicemails and text messages can be sent to 650-383-8984.

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Armed man robs woman in Palo Alto driveway

Thief threatens woman with handgun, steals purse shortly after midnight

Uploaded: Sat, Jan 8, 2011, 7:34 am
Updated: Mon, Jan 10, 2011, 8:43 am

An armed robber stole a Palo Alto woman's purse shortly after midnight today (Saturday, Jan. 8) just after she had parked her car in her driveway in the 2300 block of St. Francis Drive, near Oregon Expressway, police reported.

The woman was not injured, officer Marianna Villaescusa said.

She said a man approached the woman, pointed a handgun at her and demanded property, running off south toward Oregon after she handed over her purse.

The victim noticed a sedan with its motor running parked several houses away, but it is unknown if it is associated with the robbery, Villaescusa reported.

The man was described as a black male 18 to 20 years old, tall with a medium build, and clean shaven. He was wearing a flat-brimmed baseball cap, a grey hooded sweatshirt and baggy jeans, the woman reported.

Villaescusa repeated a frequent police reminder to community members to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially during evening hours, and to report any suspicious activity as soon as possible.

She said it is not known if this robbery is connected to other recent robberies with similar patterns. She asked anyone with information to call the Police Department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org, or anonymous voicemails and text messages can be sent to 650-383-8984.

Comments

Sam
Barron Park
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:13 am
Sam, Barron Park
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:13 am
Like this comment

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Useless Comments
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:51 am
Useless Comments, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:51 am
Like this comment

Sam,

I'm sure the robber would head right for the bicycle bridge, where he could be so easily trapped.

A less vapid comment might note that a car was waiting, and every one of us should check out our street for out-of-place vehicles when we come home late at night.


PA Dad
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2011 at 11:00 am
PA Dad, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2011 at 11:00 am
Like this comment

Another nighttime robbery by a tall black male in the Duveneck neighborhood, but "...it is not known if this robbery is connected to other recent robberies with similar patterns." Right.

So now I am walking women to their cars at night, hoping that will help.

What interests me more is how "he" happens to be on a quiet street just when a lone woman pulls into the driveway. Cruising about? Waiting for prey? Or perhaps following people home from downtown or Oregon Expressway?

If it is one of the latter two methods, baiting a trap shouldn't be too hard to do. Hopefully PAPD doing something like that.

- PA Dad


Hulkamania
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2011 at 11:54 am
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2011 at 11:54 am
Like this comment

This is the same block where a woman was beaten severely during a home invasion robbery and car theft. The car was found abandoned in EPA.


Observer
South of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm
Observer, South of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm
Like this comment

Oregon Expressway connects with two major freeways that lead to many other communities. We don't know where this guy came from, where he went, or who he is. I very much hope he gets caught, no matter what the answers are. It is difficult to avoid stereotyping when this sort of thing happens. The recent arrest of an EPA resident for similar crimes, along with its close proximity, make it an easy target for the blame. Let's try and keep in mind that EPA is full of good people who would never do this and comments like this are demeaning to them and to the people who make them.


still
Evergreen Park
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm
still, Evergreen Park
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm
Like this comment

yes its difficult not to profile , but still whites do not get profiled when a suspect is ''white''. why the double standard. is it racism?


Sam
Barron Park
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm
Sam, Barron Park
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Useless Comments
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm
Useless Comments, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm
Like this comment

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] But the point is, what good does it do to stereotype an entire community because of the actions of a few? Better to suggest ways to be safe, protect others, etc., as did PA Dad. This string of robberies and the different cars involved both suggest that this may be the work of a gang of thieves and robbers. Maybe it's time to reinvigorate some neighborhood watch groups.


Hmmm
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm
Like this comment

I feel terrible for the victim; she has my sympathy. What a terrifying experience & to be so singled out, mainly by being a woman coming home late at night. I do wonder if potential victims are being followed. These are obviously dangerous crimes which can escalate quickly & the return on the "investment" isn't that much for the thugs. What, at most someone would have a few hundred dollars & would cancel credit cards & watch for identity theft? For this, a gun is used in a close physical encounter which can quickly go awry? I hope someone drops a dime on these nasty characters so they get caught.

So local women now have to be on the lookout for men assaulting women AND robbing them, different sets of bad guys.

I'm one of the lucky ones who can pull right up to my door, usually has a dog w/me, neighbors close by & the area well lit. Still, I keep an eye out.


Richard Clark
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:25 am
Richard Clark, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:25 am
Like this comment

I live on this block. I believe Hulkamania's comment about the beating is not correct, at least in terms of the location.

I think I am going to start looking into webcam technology.

Richard Clark


Hmmm
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2011 at 10:47 am
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2011 at 10:47 am
Like this comment

Richard Clark - can you add any logistical info to this thread, such as how easy it might be to lurk in the dark, or follow the victim, etc?


Retired Teacher
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm
Retired Teacher, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm
Like this comment

I've been following this thread, and I'm not clear on why Sam's 2 posts were removed and Hulkamania's was not. Not that the posts had much worthwhile to say, but surely EPA is not a sacred cow, and the posts were not racist. One of Sam's quotes was critical of PA Online--was that why it was removed?

Are there specific, published criteria for removing posts?


MiSmi
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm
MiSmi, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm
Like this comment

Is it time to get license plate readers at entry/exit points and major intersections in the City to use for investigating cars used in major crimes like this?

I hope the NIMBY mentality and Big Brother ignorance stays quiet on this one....


Hmmm
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:00 am
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:00 am
Like this comment

Actually, Sam's first comment was offensive. Palo Alto's no sacred cow, either & until people knock off the nasty, knee jerk comments about EPA that are based on their assumptions about EPA residents, I'll flag their comments - especially when problems w/people of the same race/ethnic background & gender are ignored on these threads.

For example, where is the speculation about the white man attacking women in Palo Alto? Where is the outrage? With so many crimes against women in this area, which is a microcosm of what happens to women in the bay area, why are people not commenting on that? As long as the comments hyper focus on blaming EPA residents, the more alarming crimes & aspects of some of these crimes being discussed will be ignored. I mean no disrespect towards the male victims of the strong arm & armed street robberies, nor am I in denial about thugs who live in EPA. But to only focus on crimes w/nonwhite suspects is shortsighted & bigoted. It's really easy to point the finger at the "other" who comes in from outside your community. It's harder to take a look at who dwells within your community because they blend in & no one notices, whether or not they actually live in PA.


Hulkamania
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm
Like this comment

Richard Clark sez: "I live on this block. I believe Hulkamania's comment about the beating is not correct, at least in terms of the location."

You would be incorrect Richard. The home invasion took place in one of the homes in the small court in the 2300 block of St. Francis. You probably haven't lived here long enough to remember.


Hulkamania
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm
Like this comment

And, Richard, you probably didn't live on the block when our next door neighbor's daughter was car jacked at gun point by two black males in their driveway in the 2200 block of St. Francis. Her abandoned car was found in EPA.

Good fingerprints were found that led to arrests of the two males. The ADA on the case said they would both go away for a long time based on the use of a gun. They eventually were both cut loose on a technicality. Go figure.


DAN-O
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Jan 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm
DAN-O, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm
Like this comment

I would think cameras on exit points would help.
Why be camera shy, let's stop this know. It doesn't matter where
these people live. They may live here?


Ladrome
Registered user
another community
on Jan 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm
Ladrome, another community
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm
Like this comment

Thanks PA Dad.... your post was helpful, as are your actions walking women to their cars. I will definitely be more aware of cars on my street, although there are so many because of all the construction and new garden installation.

I hate cowards that snatch defenseless womens' purses on the woman's home turf. Total CREEPS. I hope they are caught soon and that there are more chivalrous acts by local men.


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