Man sought for photographing woman at Cubberley bathroom

Palo Alto police investigating second such case since July

Palo Alto police are seeking a man who they said entered a women's bathroom at Cubberley Community Center on Monday night and used a cell phone to take a picture of a woman who was in the stall.

The incident, which occurred just before 10 p.m. on the "J" wing of the sprawling Middlefield Road community center, was the second such occurrence in Cubberley in recent months. Last July, a different case was reported in the "A" wing of Cubberley. In both cases, the victims were women in their 20s. Police believe the suspect may have been the same person.

Police said the woman in the Monday night incident was walking on the breezeway toward the bathroom when she passed a man with a metal pushcart. She reportedly kept walking without exchanging any words with the man and entered the empty restroom. Minutes later, while in the bathroom stall, she reportedly saw a shadow. Police said she looked up and saw a man holding a cell phone over the dividing wall, apparently either taking a photo or a video of her. She yelled and the man ran out of the bathroom, police said.

Officers arrived at Cubberley with a police dog minutes after getting the call but could not find the suspect. Police did speak to a witness at the scene who reported seeing a man running out of the bathroom. The description matched that of the man whom the victim reportedly saw at the breezeway right before the crime. He was described as a man in his 20s, possibly either Hispanic or Asian, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a "buzz" haircut and a thin mustache. He was described as wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a zipper and either black pants or long shorts.

Palo Alto police believe it is possible the same suspect is responsible for both the Monday crime and the one that took place in July. According to a police press release, officers are increasing patrols at the community center in response to the Monday night incident.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the department's 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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1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 11, 2015 at 10:16 am

It is time to make sure that Cubberley is not a focal point for homeless people. We have had repeated insistences of trouble of one kind or another at this location. Are people parking in the lots overnight either in front or in back?

A major problem here is that Cubberley is not being maintained as a school. It is being allowed to disintegrate as more resources are being added to PAHS and Gunn. The city and school system should put more resources into the facility to reinitiate it as a school since we now have major problems with children trying to cross ALMA.

There is an imbalance of resources here at a time when the city is required to add more population and housing. The school system needs to look at where the students live and rebalance where they go to school. Cubberley in the midtown is perfectly situated to create balance.
It could be a middle school to get it up and going and receive funding - then transition if needed back to a high school as the students age. Or it could be made into a charter school so it is being maintained on a regular basis.

The next question is why people would be on campus at 10:00 PM. I think at that time of night then people should have cell phone in hand and take pictures of any irregular situations or have a pepper spray - how about a pepper spray for the perp as he is taking pictures - that could produce some interesting results.

As a side note the old Safeway on California in the San Antonio shopping center area is vacant inside but has parking for people / campers in the lot. I think the homeless coalition should be working that location during the cold period.

Like this comment
Posted by Hermia
a resident of Triple El
on Feb 11, 2015 at 12:50 pm

@resident 1 - It can be difficult to have your pepper spray at the ready when you are attempting to use the facilities.

By "children" do you mean high schoolers? Because I doubt the distressing events that have happened near Alma are in any way attributable to them being unable to navigate across the tracks safely. I'm afraid that strikes me as a terribly naive interpretation.

Most importantly, how did you get from "hispanic or asian male" to "homeless problem"? I don't see any indication that the police thought this was a homeless person in the article.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 11, 2015 at 12:56 pm

I don't know the details, but the new lease agreement between PAUSD and CPA now puts a great deal money towards maintenance and repair at Cubberly. Hopefully that will help.

1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm

A Man pushing a cart at 10:00 PM who has no other purpose than spying on people definitely suggests a homeless person.

All of our parks and libraries shut down and lock the facilities at a specified time. I suggest that the city establish a closing time for Cubberley and lock it down at a reasonable time - not 10:00 PM. If Cubberley is in the process of maintenance and repair then we need to make sure that those repairs are being protected. Every other facility that is being upgraded has a very definite level of protection.

There is not going to be any gaming on this valuable facility. It is going to be repaired and put to a use as an additional educational facility - even if that is a Foothill College annex campus. Foothill is going to a 4 year program so this is a valuable facility for PAUSD and Foothill.

We are increasing the number of people / houses so we need to protect the educational facilities we currently have.

We have middle school students crossing ALMA - if you have ever been on the road at 3:00 PM you know how much traffic there is on the bike lanes.

I grew up in Los Angeles - the city was required to continually monitor the population to make sure there was a good / equal allocation of children in schools to prevent overcrowding in one place and under crowding in another.

1 person likes this
Posted by Edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Resident 1

"It is time to make sure that Cubberley is not a focal point for homeless people"
This comment is based upon what? Just your hatred for those who don't
live up to "your" standards? Where is the evidence this was a homeless man
perpetrating this? You seem to just be lamenting the common ignorance
that I have heard for years, not only around Palo Alto , but everywhere
else. I happen to know many homeless people, and even some that have mental problems would not commit This type of crime. This is probably YOUR next door neighbor, or some career pervert? I would appreciate it , that when posting this type of accusation that you follow up with "evidence" to support your comment. For your information, the homeless are not "hanging around" at Cubberly because the city turned off those free showers and
have relocated the ones they consider higher risk.
Stop blaming every crime in Palo Alto on homeless people. The real
criminals are not the homeless.

1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm

This topic was placed in the "Around Town" category. It belongs in the "Crimes and Incidents" category. This is not a social event - it is a police matter that duplicates a similar police matter at this same location. It is a violation of a woman by a man in a very under populated place late at night.

We cannot attribute it to the fights and brawls that are occurring on University late at night, or to people breaking car windows at restaurants on El Camino. We cannot attribute it to any people who are in the downtown areas - homeless or not. We cannot attribute it to the people over at the new community center(s)or the older downtown centers - homeless or not.

Call it what it is. It is in a relatively quiet area that has no bars or late night music.

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

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