Palo Alto police nab serial robber

Man wearing ski mask attempts armed robbery and carjacking on Hamilton Avenue

Palo Alto police arrested an 18-year-old man Monday night (April 4) who may be responsible for five unsolved robberies in Palo Alto and several others nearby, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

The arrest stemmed from an incident on the 1200 block of Hamilton Avenue Monday at 10:15 p.m. Several people were sitting in their vehicle at the side of the road when East Palo Alto resident Deanonta Holmes, wearing a ski mask and holding a handgun, approached them and demanded money, police said.

The victims said they were not from the area and did not have any money, and Holmes let them go, police said. The victims quickly drove off and called police, and officers soon set up a perimeter on Hamilton, Sgt. Wayne Benitez said.

Police saw Holmes walking down Hamilton and detained him, police said. Near where they detained him they discovered a ski mask, latex gloves and a fake handgun, and Holmes then reportedly admitted to several of Palo Alto's unsolved armed robberies.

He has prior arrests of weapons and theft-related charges, according to a police press release.

Police have confirmed that Holmes is the younger brother of Dean Allen Holmes, 23, of San Jose. Dean Allen Holmes was arrested in February for allegedly robbing a pizza-delivery employee at gunpoint and for allegedly snatching a woman's purse while she approached the front door of her home.

He is a former Palo Alto resident and graduated from Gunn High School in 2005, according to a graduation roster. He was known to police while a student, police said.

Deanonta Holmes is not known to have attended Gunn, police said.

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Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:43 am

I am glad to hear that. Thanks to Palo Alto Police for your quick action to solve the cases.

Like this comment
Posted by Better-Cell-Phone-Service
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

Presumably this couple called the police on a cell phone. Having good cell phone reception has increased our collective level of public safety--particularly where quick police response is concerned.

Take note--you folks who are "cell phone haters".

Like this comment
Posted by Andrea
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

Way to go PAPD!

Like this comment
Posted by TipAndRing
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

Latex gloves? How could the police be sure he wasn't a proctologist?

Like this comment
Posted by BaaBaaRaa
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

YAY PAPD! And yay cell phones. I hate these brazen robberies of random folks walking down the street, just like I hate those of the 60s where little old ladies were targeted at their doors. Shame on those cowardly criminals.

Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:46 am

Great news! I hope they lock this guy up for a really long time.

Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

"Having good cell phone reception has increased our collective level of public safety--particularly where quick police response is concerned."

+1; agree in full.

The City should deny the appeal -- recently filed -- of the prior City approval of a new AT&T cell tower on Channing. Robust cell phone coverage is a critical public utility, important for commerce and public safety.

Like this comment
Posted by B. Li
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Dean Allen Holmes Jr., 23, was arrested and booked at the Main Jail in San Jose on Jan. 19 for the robberies, Palo Alto police announced Tuesday (Feb. 22).

Hmmm wonder if they're related? Sound like the PAPD has done an outstanding job! Keep up the good work and thanks for keeping us safe!!

Like this comment
Posted by Moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Fake handgun. These potential victims were really lucky.

What might have happened if the handgun had been real? You say you have no money and you're from out of the area and you decide to drive away?

You drive away dead?

Like this comment
Posted by Name withheld
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm

This 18 year old is a man? He looks like a kid who needs help, counseling, education, probably has a terrible home life and may be dependency-related crime.

Let's see if we can turn this into a framework for restitution and rehabilitation.

Let's see if he can't be turned into a kid again.

Like this comment
Posted by Iphonegrrrl
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Good job PAPD. But you have about 10 other guys to nab, I'm afraid, plus the gang-related graffiti & drug activity. Not to mention the homeless sleeping on my lawn. I'm actually moving to Menlo Park next month because Downtown is too unsafe.

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2011 at 12:22 am

Name Withheld, Are you planning to take on the job of rehabilitating this guy? Let us know how it turns out. I agree he looks troubled, and there probably is a very sad story behind this, but I'm afraid of people who do things like this. Where do you start? I see someone like this and I have the urge to find his parents and let them have it. Also, I don't want him on the street where my own children are.

Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

Prior arrests? Why was he running loose?

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm's a mug shot, not a family portrait at a picnic.

When does anyone look like they're having a good time while getting a mug shot taken, fingerprints taken, etc.? Enough of the psycho-analysis via the Internet.

Celebrity mugshots... Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I wonder if this guy will use a fake handgun next time when he gets out.

There is so much this kind of story churns up in me, and frustration and anger with our system. First, I am happy the guy was caught, but I am pessimistic that any appropriate punishment will be forthcoming, and if the punishment were appropriate, when the man gets out, which should be never, I am skeptical that he will ever not be a threat to decent law abiding citizens. The whole family seems to have a problem and that is something just sending someone to jail for a few years is not likely to solve.

My prediction would be - he'll be sent away until we forget about him, and then at some in the future he will pop up responsible for something even worse and even more permanent at which point we may or may not do something about him again.

I think this guy is like a shark, he has tasted how easy and fun it is to intimidate and steal from people, and like a drug he will always return to it. OF course we could give him all kind of attention and help and chances that regular non-criminal normal people do not get in hopes that maybe it will take and we can pat ourselves on the back over the success story, but what a story like that would really be is a criminal success story, because he would not have gotten there except that he was a criminal to begin with.

What's wrong with that picture?

This is why a rational society would reward people for not being criminals instead of either locking them up expensively forever or bribing them when they are bad enough to behave within the parameters of productive society.

Our civiliation is crumbling because there is no unified theory of reality in the lowest cost amoral pragmatic way we organize our efforts.

Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Oh yeah, here we go again...he has a built in excuse because he 'probably' came from a really really bad home. Think that is the excuse of the thugs who beat Bryan Stowe? Excuses are just that, excuses.

Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I love cell phones for things like this too. But, I can remember back to before cell phones, where somebody would've quickly gone to somebody's door and asked them to call the police. Or when there were pay phones everywhere and one would just go to one and quickly call the police. There was life and crime control BCP.

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

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