A man who police said swiped a woman's wallet and cellphone outside Peet's Coffee at Town & Country on Monday evening was nabbed near Palo Alto's downtown train station minutes later, though the stolen items remain at large.
Palo Alto police arrested Moises Carrillo Castillo, 19, of East Palo Alto, about 10 minutes after they received a call from a woman who reported that her wallet and cellphone had just been stolen. The victim, a woman in her 40s, was reportedly sitting at a table outside Peet's with her wallet and phone on the table near her. The man allegedly walked up to the woman and began talking to her. After diverting her attention, he grabbed her wallet and phone and ran away in the north direction, police said.
Shortly after the incident, an officer searching for the thief saw a man matching the suspect's description walking near the train platform at 95 University Ave. When an officer called out to him, the man allegedly tried to walk away and then "physically resisted the officers' attempt to detain him." A brief struggle ensued and the man was taken into custody.
Police said Castillo suffered "mild facial injuries" and was treated at the scene by the Palo Alto Fire Department before being booked into Santa County Main Jail. He was charged with felony theft and misdemeanor resisting arrest. No officers were injured during the struggle.
Though Castillo was identified as the man who stole the wallet and the cellphone, the items had not been recovered as of Tuesday morning. Police said they believe he may have hidden or discarded the stolen property when he saw officers in the area.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.