Police are looking for a man who allegedly punched a commuter in the face and robbed him as he waited for a train on Sunday, Nov. 2, according to a joint statement by the Palo Alto Police Department, Transit Police Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and Caltrain.
The robber approached the male victim who was at the California Avenue Caltrain station at about 1:27 p.m., assaulted him, took his wallet, and escaped on a non-motorized scooter. The victim sustained minor injuries.
Officers responded to the incident, but were not able to locate the robber. Deputies from the Transit Police Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, which has primary law enforcement jurisdiction at the location, responded to investigate the crime, police and Caltrain spokespersons said.
The victim, a man in his 60s, was seated on a bench on the southbound platform waiting for the next train. The victim had his wallet in his pants pocket, connected to his belt with a metal chain. The chain was visible and hanging outside of his pants. The robber walked up and stood behind him, then suddenly reached for the chain and attempted to pull the wallet away from the victim. The victim pulled back, at which point the robber punched him once in the face and ripped the wallet and chain from the victim's belt before riding away on a non-motorized scooter. The wallet contained cash and miscellaneous personnel property, officials said.
The victim received a small cut and swelling around his left eye. He was treated at the scene by the Palo Alto Fire Department and released.
A witness described the robber as a black male, about 25 years old, wearing a white shirt and light-colored blue jeans. The man was unshaven and had dreadlocks. He was riding a silver scooter with electric-blue wheels. The victim and witnesses last saw the suspect on the train platform headed south.
If the victim is able to meet with a police sketch artist, police will release that sketch as soon as possible, they said.
No other robberies at train stations in Palo Alto have been reported recently, according to officials.
The follow-up investigation is being handled by detectives assigned to the Transit Police Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, who are working in close collaboration with detectives with the Palo Alto Police Department.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office anonymous tip line at 800-547-2700. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.