Palo Alto police arrested 22-year-old Irvin Alejandro Valadez Castaneda of East Palo Alto on Sunday evening, April 6, for allegedly robbing a pedestrian with a BB gun.
Police received a 911 call at 10:05 p.m. from a man reporting that he had just been robbed at gunpoint in the 3800 block of Middlefield Road. He had been walking northbound on the east sidewalk on Middlefield when he saw a vehicle pull onto Ensign Way in front of him. Castaneda got out, walked toward him and allegedly pointed a black gun at him, demanding his cash and cell phone. The man complied. Castaneda demanded that the man produce his identification card. He then used the stolen cell phone to take a picture of the man's identification and allegedly threatened to "come after him" if he reported the phone as stolen to police. Castaneda fled in a vehicle northbound on Middlefield Road, according to police.
The victim, a man in his 40s, gave police a description of Castaneda and his vehicle. At 10:11 p.m., a patrol officer in the 1500 block of Edgewood Road saw a man matching the alleged robber's description exit a parked car matching the getaway vehicle's description, a gold 2001 Mitsubishi Galant sedan. The officer detained the man for investigation and saw the victim's cell phone in plain view inside the man's car.
Officers arrested Castaneda without incident and found a BB gun inside the car. Police booked Castaneda into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for robbery and criminal threats, both of which are felonies.
Detectives are investigating if the suspect is connected to any other robberies in Palo Alto or surrounding communities. Anyone with information about this incident or Castaneda is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.