Fraud suspect arrested after downtown foot chase

Massachusetts man had a taste for expensive clothing, watches and purses

A man who went on a spending spree in downtown Palo Alto using a stolen credit card was chased and arrested by Palo Alto police on Wednesday, Dec. 21, morning.

Francis Miller, 45, a Massachusetts resident, was arrested after a foot chase on University Avenue and booked on three counts of burglary, three counts of identity theft, and one count of resisting arrest in connection with using credit cards he allegedly stole from a downtown Palo Alto gym locker.

A Menlo Park man reported his credit card was stolen on Dec. 19. Someone used the card at three downtown businesses: Juut Salon Spa, Hemingway Tobacco and The Sports Gallery and charged more than $2,500, according to police.

Police obtained surveillance photos of the suspect from the businesses and distributed the photos to Palo Alto police officers and to other local agencies. A Palo Alto officer saw Miller, who matched the suspect description, standing on the corner of Bryant Street and Hamilton Avenue Wednesday at approximately 11:15 a.m.

Miller ran through CVS Pharmacy at 352 University Ave. and Siam Thai at 338 University Ave. Officers caught Miller in the 500 block of Bryant Street near University and arrested him. Three officers and Miller sustained minor injuries during the arrest. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail after receiving medical treatment.

Palo Alto detectives obtained a search warrant for Miller's hotel room in Newark and recovered some of the property he allegedly purchased with the stolen credit card.

Detectives located a large amount of high-end clothing, watches and purses that they think might also have been fraudulently purchased using other stolen credit cards. Police are asking anyone who has recently had their credit card fraudulently used in Palo Alto to contact the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by mug shot?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm

How about posting his mug shot so other business owners can try to recognize him?

Like this comment
Posted by what's you real point?
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2011 at 10:25 am

The guy is in jail, would they need his photo to recognize him on a jail visit?

Like this comment
Posted by why no mug shot
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

All the other newspapers printed the mug shot, so should be easy enough to see what the crook looks like. I guess that the Weekly only prints mug shots when the suspect is non-white.

Like this comment
Posted by why no mug shot
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

P.S. The police are asking for help from other businesses that have dealt with this crook. Since he wasn't using his real name, other business owners should check other newspapers to get a look at the mug shot.

Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I was on the scene just a few seconds behind him in CVS where he lost his baseball cap in one of the isles, dropped a stolen X box taken from Game Scape (presumably stolen outright since it wasn't in a bag) off on one of their merchandise carts and headed out where the police apprehended him.

By the time I was done making my purchase and heading out the door to University Ave, they'd managed to apprehend him and I was able to let one of the officers know of the dumped merchandise.

Great team work on the part of the police, CVS management, etc.

Saddens me when people are in such distress in their lives that they make these choices, but good to see Palo Alto police in effective action.

The female police officer even said "excuse me" as she flew past in the isle.

Good work, people!

Like this comment
Posted by SuperD
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Good work Palo Alto PD! One less criminal on our streets now.

Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

No matter how hard I try to figure it out, I just can't understand why some people feel entitled to the property of others. More, you see this guy wasn't buying food. He was buying STUFF. Scumbag.

Like this comment
Posted by i am a camera
a resident of another community
on Dec 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Criminals tell lies more than cops. Maybe cops have to enhance the truth occasionally because so many guilty parties go free and because so many people continue to be criminals no matter how many times they've been in trouble.

Like this comment
Posted by Don
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Hell must be a very unhappy person to make an unkind remark about the police dept. after they have done what we pay them for - and been injured in the process. How many of us would risk our health this way?

The minor injuries mentioned could be as little as a scape on the hand or a sprained finger, wrist, or ankle. The latter are not fun and would put the officer out of action for some time.

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

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 43 comments | 2,246 views

Lentil Brownies
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 712 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 347 views

Reflections on Pal0 Alto's Centennial -- now it's the city's 125th birthday!
By Diana Diamond | 3 comments | 137 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.