News

Pizza deliveryman robbed at gunpoint Monday

Robber pointed a handgun at the victim in south Palo Alto holdup

A pizza deliverer was robbed at gunpoint in the Greenmeadow neighborhood of south Palo Alto Monday (Jan. 10) night, Palo Alto police said.

The victim was approached by a lone gunman as he was returning to his parked vehicle on the 4000 block of Ben Lomond Drive at approximately 9:15 p.m., Sgt. Dave Flohr said.

The robber pointed a handgun at him and demanded his belongings. The victim handed over his wallet and cell phone and was not harmed. The robber ran away towards Scripps Avenue, police said.

There is no description of the getaway vehicle, Flohr said.

A short time after the robbery, Palo Alto police detained a man who matched the description of the robber. The man was taken to the police station for investigation, but police determined he was not connected to the robbery and he was released without charges.

The gunman is described as a 6-foot-tall black man in his 20s with a dark complexion. He wore a gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

"The Palo Alto Police Department would like to remind community members to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially during the evening hours. Please report any suspicious activity to the Police Department as soon as possible," police said in a press release.

The incident may or may not be connected to other recent robberies in the area, police said.

Anyone with information can call the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or anonymous voice mails and text messages can be sent to 650-383-8984.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Joey
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 12, 2011 at 12:17 am

Finally the police are doing something about this. Unfortunately they are arresting the wrong people!

The weekly should run a special issue on how to stay safe in Palo Alto and include Palo Alto Police's phone number so that all residents may program it into their phone for faster response.


Like this comment
Posted by Pulleaze
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 12, 2011 at 12:32 am

Joey, why don't you slip into your Superman or Flash costume? You think the PAPD are ignoring the robberies? Of course, they are doing the best they can. Any cop's dream is to bust a criminal.


Like this comment
Posted by Scared
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 10:51 am

Should I call 911 if I saw a black man walking on my back street? Could weekly run a report on how many known cases fall into this profiling? Or even asking this question is wrong?


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:22 am

Can you please describe the car? My friend was one of the people mugged by this guy. She said a compact sedan, dark in color. Is this the same car?


Like this comment
Posted by peeple
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:25 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Local gurl
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

If I see someone I don't know in my neighborhood who is walking or driving around with seemingly no destination, I usually call the police on the non-emergency number. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by profiler
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:44 am

There were 2 recent reports of tall thin white men attacking local women (one in downtown and one in Stanford). Every time I see someone resembling the police sketches, I follow them and call the police. No arrests yet, but hopefully soon.


Like this comment
Posted by Pathetic Palo Alto
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:54 am

All you people who might want to call the police upon spying a black person in your neighborhood, keep this in mind: In any normal American city -- including virtually every city in the much-maligned South -- a black person would probably be a RESIDENT of your neighborhood. I've lived in several different parts of the USA and nowhere else is the racism as bad as it is here.


Like this comment
Posted by profiler
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Pathetic - have you been back to the maligned South since the rise of the Tea Party?


Like this comment
Posted by Penny
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Any information about suspicious behavior that may be helpful to Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD) in their investigation should be delivered directly to the police by the witness. Here is the non-emergency number for such calls.

PAPD non-emergency phone number: 329-2413

If you witness a real EMERGENCY (like a robbery in progress), call 911.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I find this really scary, as this is the second attack in Greenmeadow involving a gun. It sounds like the robber in this most recent case happened to be black; I don't remember the race of the attacker on Nelson. It's about awareness and reporting early. If someone is hanging out and appears to be "casing", driving (or riding a bike) slowly or back and forth in an area, tries to hide their face, has a car without a license plate, etc., then reporting makes a lot of sense. Their race helps with a description, but is otherwise irrelevant.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Something is going on, last night on the way, not in the area in this article, I saw five or six different police cars driving in and out of the roads nearby.

I see a lot of people who look out of place just walking around the sidestreets there days, but there is no crime in that.

What is the size of our reservoir in our society of people who will do things like this if times get bad and they think they have opportunity? Palo Alto and any city is a large area to cover. The scalabiliy of our whole system is going to be strained for years to come because of what has been allowed to happen to due incompetence and malfeasance of our public and private leaders.

Is the best solution really to keep doing things even more the way we have been doing them until everything falls apart because we do not address the real problems, or to start to find out what are the real problems.

Is the problem guns? is the problem a certain number of individuals that are recidivists? Lack of jobs? Lack of options?

Someone posted stats that showed these kinds of robberies happen all the time. Why are we worrying about them now then. Are we worried more because those who are the haves feel guilty like they might be targets more 'now a days' than they might have thought about it in the past?

What changed?


Like this comment
Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

bru is a registered user.

>> keep this in mind: In any normal American city -- including virtually
>> every city in the much-maligned South -- a black person would
>> probably be a RESIDENT of your neighborhood.

That's a good point, and true, but what is the thing that makes everyone so uncomfortable about this subject?

Is it that we do not really know the statistics about how often someone who commits whatever crime belongs to some certain race, or is it that we are not comfortable with what the meaning of breaking down criminals by race, or other attributes is?

We cannot know if some one in our neighborhood is up to no good or is even a stranger, so what do we do about it. Is anything gained by attacking or not attacking people who talk about reporting people by a particular race. Can these conversations change people's behavior in terms of reporting suspicious people to the police. I doubt the person held for questioning in the story was very happy ... assuming he was unrelated to the crime.

I recall one time in an apartment complex where I had lived what I thought was a stranger in the parking lot was wondering around. I asked if he lived there, and he said yes, and since we was a minority, I didn't do a thing even though I had a bad feeling about this person and thought I should have called the police. That night someone broke into two cars in the parking lot, one of them was mine.

We should be clear about what we are trying to do or what the effect might be when we discuss this subject.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

It's an interesting question - how do we respond as a community when crimes like this are being committed by someone with a particular appearance. The area where this particular incident occurred has quite an ethnic blend living in it, including African Americans, in spite of frequent claims that everyone in PA is caucasian. In addition, it lies between the San Antonio train station and the campus at Cubberly, which means that all descriptions of people may be seen walking from one to the other. It is also a bicycle corridor, which brings additional people passing through, again, of all descriptions. So this neighborhood has no particular demographic, and I see all kinds of people here every day. There is no way of knowing whether they're from the neighborhood or not. However, if I see someone who behaves like a criminal (maybe I'll know it when I see it?) or dresses like a gangster, or carrying a gun, I'll call the police. By the way, some very suspicious looking people are in the area, but perhaps they're plain clothes detectives.


Like this comment
Posted by commonsense
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Don't you people know who lives in your neighborhood? I could describe and pick out everyone who lives on my immediate block, as well as the cars they drive. These robberies have happened on streets like mine, so the ability to do this is there. I don't need a neighborhood watch meeting to know this info. Go say hi and check out your neighborhood. If someone is loitering, get a license plate and save it. If they are visiting, a few minutes watching will be all it takes to determine this. If you get a funny feeling, youre probably right, and call the police! Let's catch these guys!


Like this comment
Posted by Oy
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Dear Common Sense, I know everybody on my block and most people for several blocks around. However, a neighborhood consists of many blocks and it is not possible to know everybody. The last thing I would do is decide a person I didn't happen to know, or who did not fit a certain profile did not belong in my neighborhood. I agree about the funny feeling though.


Like this comment
Posted by Thanks for the info
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 13, 2011 at 5:20 am

I was happy to see a fellow southerner commenting on how racism is so much more rampant here than in the south. I used to think that California was "tolerant", and have found that, in fact, the south is much more so.

Many more blacks per population in the south, many more hispanics, fewer asians I suppose, but I haven't been there recently. Ipso facto, much more diversity and less racism.

Back to the point in fact. At the same time, we have no problem in the south describing and assailant. Somehow we got over the whole "can't tell the gender, age, color" in describing a perpetrator a long time ago. Somehow in the south we understood that this is not "profiling", but simply telling who did what.

I expected cries for 'gun control' when I saw the title, fortunately it seems that this has not come up yet. As a preemptive strike, I would venture to say that this perpetrator is not one who has a legal gun...

Good luck, PA...is crime on the rise here? don't know..


Like this comment
Posted by Michele
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 13, 2011 at 8:25 am

Dear "Thanks for the Info"
Just got back from South carolina and Georgia - and I'm with you!


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 8:48 am

"I expected cries for 'gun control' when I saw the title, fortunately it seems that this has not come up yet. As a preemptive strike, I would venture to say that this perpetrator is not one who has a legal gun..."

This perpetrator may not have legally had this gun, but was this gun legally owned and subsequently stolen? The more guns that are about legally, the more that can become illegally held.

Gun control is fast becoming a big problem in this country. Guns are dangerous and are much more often used to cause mayhem than to protect the owner from bad guys. They are not a dissentive to violence but perhaps a target for violence. They may be a legal right, but they are not a sensible right.


Like this comment
Posted by member name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

"As a preemptive strike, I would venture to say that this perpetrator is not one who has a legal gun..."

Gee ... what criminal would register their gun ... DUUUHHH ...


Like this comment
Posted by PA Native
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

@PatheticPA:

Having lived in several states, I think racism is much worse outside of CA. They just aren't as verbal as Californians. Midwesterners are too polite to say anything, and the South is notorious for hiding feelings. Take it from a blonde/blue-eyed gal who hears everything.


Like this comment
Posted by commonsense
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Observer, It is not a matter of "if they belong in my neighborhood," but rather, "what is this person doing in my neighborhood." I siad nothing about judging who "belongs" in your neighborhood. This applies for everyone, whatever race, who you may have never seen in your neighborhood. Please don't go the racism/profiling route, it's played out on here....


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

"Commonsense" Expressing my opinion is not the same as attacking yours. You can have what ever opinion you like, mine is as I said.


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

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