Palo Alto police seek armed robbers in jewelry heist

Man and woman remain at large after robbing jewelry store at Stanford Shopping Center

A man and woman suspected of robbing a jewelry store in Palo Alto at gunpoint on Wednesday, Oct. 22, escaped with about 25 high-end watches valued at about $120,000 according to Palo Alto police.

At about 4:27 p.m. police received a 911 call from employees at Gleim the Jeweler at the Stanford Shopping Center, 180 El Camino Real, reporting the armed robbery. Officers responded immediately, but could not locate the suspects. There were no other customers in the store at the time of the robbery, and none of the employees were injured.

The first robber is described as a black male, between 35 and 40 years of age, with a medium build and beard. He was wearing a navy-colored, long-sleeved jumpsuit, similar to what a mechanic might wear. He had a white elastic dust mask worn around his neck, and a white ACE Hardware cap with a red brim.

The second robber is described as a black female adult, about 30 years old, with a thin build and shoulder-length wavy hair that the employees believed to be a wig. She was wearing a United States Postal Service vest over a white T-shirt and dark pants. She carried an oversized purse with a flower design. Both suspects had black semi-automatic handguns.

Investigations revealed that the woman entered the store and asked an employee to show her some watches. Once the employee opened the case and handed a watch to the woman, the male robber entered the store with a handgun. He ordered the three employees to the ground.

The woman, who also had a handgun, went behind the counter and emptied approximately 25 high-end watches into her purse, police said. The two suspects then fled on foot out the front door. Police Sgt. Brian Philip confirmed the number of watches and their estimated value on Thursday.

Anyone with information pertaining to the case is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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8 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2014 at 10:28 pm

This isn't an alleged armed robbery, police have confirmed it, you have pictures.

Like this comment
Posted by Rumpole-Said-Never-Plead-Guilty!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:01 am

> This isn't an alleged armed robbery,

It's hard to believe that they won't, under advice of counsel, plead "not-guilty".

So, what's a poor newspaper to do?

Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:53 am

@Rumpole-Said-Never-Plead-Guilty! - "She Who Must Be Obeyed" knew.

3 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2014 at 1:39 am

@Rumpole-Said-Never-Plead-Guilty! - the individuals are the alleged robbers, but it a robbery, not an alleged robbery.

3 people like this
Posted by grammar police
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2014 at 8:02 am

Yes, getting tired of seeing so much bad grammar, particularly in headlines. The word "alleged" is in the wrong place.

2 people like this
Posted by Alleged Comment
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 23, 2014 at 8:17 am

Really? That's what you have to say?

Like this comment
Posted by maditalian_1492
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:09 am

maditalian_1492 is a registered user.

I think the Weekly Staff needs to check the calendar. Wednesday was October 22, 2014.

2 people like this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:42 am

Chris Zaharias is a registered user.

Armed merchants would solve this problem.

7 people like this
Posted by ScottB
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

ScottB is a registered user.

@Chris Zaharias, hopefully you're being sarcastic, but in case you're not, armed merchants would not solve this problem. Instead, you'd have shots exchanged in a shopping mall, with stray bullets exiting the store and endangering innocent passersby. It's also equally possible that a store employee would be injured or killed -- not worth it for a handful of watches.

3 people like this
Posted by Armed Guards
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

Actually @Chris and @ScottB, you're both right. Armed guards outside/inside jewelry stores are the norm. Tom Wing (when it was at Stanford) always had a security guard in the store; Tiffany at Stanford currently has a security guard (and I'm assuming the security guard is armed). While I wouldn't want the salespeople toting guns, and I'm sure they don't want to either, it's normal for jewelry stores to employ one or more armed guards. I wonder why Gleim didn't? (or maybe they did but he/she isn't mentioned in the article). I bet they will now!

3 people like this
Posted by What?
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

Don't worry, they will be caught and do their "TIME"

5 people like this
Posted by solon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:17 am

This makes me sad, and angry, too. The employees of Gleim's are professional, kind, respectful, and do not deserve this trauma. It can hit a person hard.
They will be caught.

The Gleim family has deep and long roots in our town, and has been at the highest level of the profession for generations.

"You don't really live in Palo ALto" I used to say, unless you have bought at Gleim's. I have happy memories, of buying my friends' daughters high school graduation gifts there, I used to buy little things, as mementos, for friends leaving our town.

Readers will recall another jewelry store that was robbed at gunpoint so often in Palo Alto it closed, a different company, near Webster it was on University.

How can we help reduce this crime?

2 people like this
Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

What's harder to believe is that the store didn't have cameras! If they did the police should have posted pictures?

2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:33 am

Hint -- expand the article and look at the attached photos.

Like this comment
Posted by enough!
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

People make me sick.

2 people like this
Posted by Question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:20 pm

These photos are contrast-optimized for the stuff, not the features of the robber. Can the police additionally provide another few shots where the levels on the robber's skin and clothing are raised so we can see better definition?

Given the state of technology today, why aren't these images higher quality?

2 people like this
Posted by Angela Hey
a resident of Portola Valley
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I too am sad to see the store robbed. It seems that stores and banks need to put their security cameras in better positions - they tend to show the robber's head and not a full face view. I realize this may be difficult, but cameras are getting smaller and easier to hide.

I remember visiting a company that had a TV screen at the entrance - part of the reason was it had a security camera in its frame and could get a full face view.

Someone in the security industry needs to get affordable cameras installed in merchants with pictures as good as an iPhone with face recognition.

8 people like this
Posted by Georgie Gleim
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for the kind words, Solon. They mean a lot. We do have multiple cameras in the store which have provided a variety of views of the thieves; the article includes only one view. Although technology can always be improved as it advances so rapidly, the police felt the images provided will be very useful. We have had guards in the past, and someday may need to return to them, but even they do not always prevent a robbery. We are very lucky that everyone on staff is okay physically, and I thank the members of the community who have expressed concern. And I especially thank the Palo Alto Police for their prompt reaction to our call.

3 people like this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Insurance will pay. And in turn we'll subsidize insurance.

With all the HD cameras around for $300, time for robbery prone businesses to part with some money. Divert some advertising money

Like this comment
Posted by Wilson
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm

It's about time for the Palo Alto police to start using the FBI's facial recognition system to help identify, and catch, the "alleged" robbers of the stores in our town--

FBI Facial Recognition System To Have 52M Photos:
Web Link

Sadly, we haven't heard one word out of any of the incumbents, or candidates, about how poorly the Palo Alto police has adopted technology to better serve and protect. They really haven't said much about how the City has been run by the current Council.

Like this comment
Posted by 15year-resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I'll agree with an earlier comment about needing better cameras in this store. These pictures are too fuzzy. Someone who knows these suspects might recognize them from this picture. But I think most people - myself included - could walk right by them without recognizing them. A really good camera aimed at the store entrance focused at head height would get the photo that is needed.

I was similarly amazed at the bad quality of a photo from a bank robbery -Provident?- in Palo Alto about a year ago. Given how cheap good quality video has become I cannot think of any reason a bank or jewelry store couldn't have better quality images of these robbers.

Like this comment
Posted by silly
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I'm just happy Wilson isn't one of the those candidates. Do you even live in town? Have you seen the debate and animosity towards the mere idea of surveillance cameras and LPR's at fixed points in town? And yet you jump to the facial recognition software? Let's talk about how poorly ignorant some commenters are of current trends

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

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