News

Woman booked for attempted robbery in downtown Palo Alto

Police said Yarissa Guadalupe Ramirez tried to rob a woman at knifepoint on University Avenue

A woman who police said tried to rob a pedestrian at knifepoint in downtown Palo Alto on Tuesday afternoon was arrested later in the day after she walked into the police station to discuss an unrelated investigation.

Yarissa Guadalupe Ramirez, 20, of Redwood City, was arrested after police used surveillance footage to identify her as the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred on University Avenue at about 1:30 p.m.

The arrest was made easier by the fact that she came to the station at about 6:30 p.m. to cooperate on what police called an "unrelated, entirely separate investigation." While at the station for that incident, details of which are not being disclosed, officers arrested her for the armed robbery.

Palo Alto police learned about the robbery at about 2:40 p.m., after receiving a call from the victim, a woman in her 30s. She told police that she walking east on University Avenue, near Waverley Street, when she was approached by a woman holding a pocketknife with its blade exposed, police said. The woman with the knife reportedly told her to hand over the cellphone she was holding. The victim declined to do so and told a man who was passing by about the attempted robbery, police said.

The passerby, who has not been identified, reportedly interceded, stepped between the two women, told the woman with the cellphone to walk away and confronted the woman with the knife, police said. When the woman with the knife tried to walk around him and get to the victim, he pushed her away, police said. The woman with the knife then walked away north on Waverley Street, away from University Avenue, police said.

The woman with the cellphone, meanwhile, went to a nearby coffee shop and emailed the Stanford Department of Public Safety, which directed her to the Palo Alto police. Police said she called the police at about 2:40 p.m., roughly an hour after the robbery, and provided a description of the suspect. Police then reportedly canvassed the area for surveillance footage from nearby businesses. They found a video showing the incident and were able to identify Ramirez as the suspect. Police are not releasing the video to the public.

Police also are not saying which incident prompted Ramirez to come to the police station at about 6:30 p.m. But while at the station, she was arrested for the attempted robbery and booked in the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

Anyone with information about this incident, or knowledge of the identity of the male passerby, is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Comments

10 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2015 at 6:15 am

Where can one get an "open carry" permit for a pistol?


7 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 7:57 am

You can get one from the sheriff (pursuant to Penal Code 26150) or your city's police chief (Penal Code 26155).

Penal Code 26150 and 26155 replaced former California Penal Code 12050, effective January 1, 2012.

Good luck.


8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 8, 2015 at 7:58 am

I'm surprised we can still "open carry" a cell phone.

Cell phones seem to be the target of most robberies these days.


11 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 8:37 am

As of July 1st, new smartphones are required to have a remote kill switch, to disable the device.

Apple was the pioneer of the feature: Activation Lock was the first of its kind and introduced with iOS 7 in September 2013. Without the proper credentials, iPhones can't be reprogrammed or wiped, essentially rendering the device into a paperweight.

Even before the law came into effect, smartphone thefts have been trending downward (February 2015 article): Web Link

as other manufacturers had started to implement the smartphone kill switch.


36 people like this
Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

Kudos to the anonymous good samaritan who intervened here and saved the situation here!

It's very easy to decide "not to get involved" in something like this. This guy seems to have done the right thing and deserve some positive recognition!


18 people like this
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 8, 2015 at 10:24 am

She e-mailed the police??? Was there no-one nearby, other than the decent interceptor, to call them for her?


12 people like this
Posted by why?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 8, 2015 at 10:24 am

is it just me or is there an increase in this type of brazen robbery/mugging?
Around 1-2pm?
I feel like I am reading news of a downtown mugging attempt each week.


21 people like this
Posted by mutti allen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 8, 2015 at 10:31 am

I'm so glad I work in East Palo Alto where I feel perfectly safe walking the streets!


22 people like this
Posted by ellen
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

I think it is important to know why the victim of this attempted robbery did not directly call 911?


13 people like this
Posted by GrowingPains
a resident of University South
on Jul 8, 2015 at 11:11 am

The old City Council wanted a "vibrant" Palo Alto. More development, more people, more crime.


23 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2015 at 11:18 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

Please CALL 911 immediately if you see or suspect a crime in progress, or are hurt and need help. Not email, not call the next day. Even if it is a false alarm, the police won't be mad at you - they need timely calls from citizens to keep everyone safe.


9 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 11:20 am

@Ellen (Charleston Gardens):

She was probably shaken by the incident and was not thinking clearly. The fact she contacted Stanford DPS by e-mail is pretty evident of this, even though she was in the City of Palo Alto and had retained possession of her cellphone.

It took over an hour for the Palo Alto police to learn of the incident, but only after Stanford DPS replied to the victim and told her to contact the proper law enforcement agency.

Clearly, not everyone in a stressful or unusual situation is going to do the right thing.

@ellen (Leland Manor/Garland Drive ):

You'd have to ask her, but my guess is that the incident left her frazzled and confused, and she ended up doing the wrong thing before she was instructed the proper course of action.


9 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 11:31 am

Probably a foreign student from a civilized country where this stuff doesn't happen. So, she contacted her school and they fobbed her off - they should have gone over and helped her out immediately. It is terrifying to have someone right in front of you threatening to stick a knife in your gut. It will be interesting to see if any significant consequence will be applied to Ramirez. My bet: probation.


6 people like this
Posted by GrowingPains
a resident of University South
on Jul 8, 2015 at 11:32 am

We definitely need more police presence downtown for crime protection and code enforcement.


13 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2015 at 12:06 pm

University and Waverly…
hmm…
Lemme see…
A block away from the police station…
You could walk there faster than writing an email…
Faster even then waiting for a response to a 911 call.
And then there was the poor fellow out for a walk that was murdered even closer to the station a few years back.


18 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2015 at 12:20 pm

"Where can one get an "open carry" permit for a pistol?"

This macho fantasy is a reliable way to get killed. The perp initiates the interaction by applying their weapon first. To you. They are not usually sporting enough to wait for you to reach for, pull, load (if necessary), cock, and aim your pistol. Dim witted perps like this one are a rare exception. Good luck finding one.


Like this comment
Posted by joe
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Why would anyone E-MAIL the police in such a situation?? Get off your cell phone. . .


14 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 8, 2015 at 12:46 pm

I'm wondering if the victim was a Stanford student from overseas since she emailed Stanford security. Any American citizen would know to phone 911.

That's pretty amazing that the police caught the robber despite the hours of time lapse.

Wow, that's quite brave of the male! Please step forward!


3 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

> Probably a foreign student from a civilized country where this stuff doesn't happen

Some people live in a bubble ..

Web Link

Around the world, smartphone thefts have not only skyrocketed but have also turned increasingly violent, forcing law enforcement, government and industry officials to scramble for solutions to a modern-day global crime wave with deadly consequences. The robberies are being driven by an insatiable demand for a product worth hundreds of dollars that millions of people carelessly hold on subways and sidewalks, creating what police say is a crime of opportunity.




10 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

So, crazy as Donald Trump is, can we say he is not "totally" crazed, or not?


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I am not sure the email was not a good idea.

To compose yourself and get the story down with everything you can think of on paper
before you talk to police might be helpful in some ways or in many cases. The email can
serve as a document of the time, maybe even the place. It's also sometimes not easy to
think of all you have to say when you are talking to police. Clearly not to do in an emergency
of if there is any danger. or you are not safe.


25 people like this
Posted by Time to Move?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Palo Alto seems like it has become totally different than when I moved here 20 years ago and bought a house. Crime of course existed, but it didn't feel like it does now with brazen acts of violence in broad daylight, bike thefts, package thefts off porches, phone scams, and personal/home/business robberies every day. Trucks are now smashing into the fronts of local stores to steal their merchandise (like Bloomingdales, Keeble, and the Cambridge Ave. drug store). In the past five years our home has been robbed, bikes have been stolen, and I read about attacks at gunpoint or knife point in Palo Alto in broad daylight on a daily basis. We've had to install alarms, cameras, gates, locks - none of which we even thought about when we moved here. This no longer feels like the town I moved to twenty years ago. I would be very interested to know if I'm just becoming more aware of what's happening or if the statistics support that it's much higher crime now in PA?


2 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Barbara said "get off your cellphone" - well, cellphones are still phones too, so she should have uses it as a phone and called 911.

@CrescentParkAnon - How is this not an emergency involving danger? Call 911!! Think about the guy who put himself in danger by intervening. Isn't there an obligation to get assistance immediately in case he needed help?


3 people like this
Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

She was too busy texting her friends to call the police? WTH. Sometimes I think those cell phones fry peoples' brains and lull them into a sense of not knowing what's going on around them. Ever seen one walk into a pole? Bump into people on the sidewalk? Drive a car?!? Hopefully no one will have to rely on such a person to call police in an emergency. Ha!


25 people like this
Posted by 4Bernard
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Hey Time to Move?

If you think it was better 20 years ago, imagine 40 years ago or more.
When money takes over things go to shite. It's really that simple in
my opinion. Kind of what is happening with the whole country these
days.

Money is being used to steamroll over everyone else while the rich
pursue their vanity projects. When Palo Alto was a nice working class
town people were more of a priority. Not any more, they are just an
excuse used to get some money-making deal done that doesn't do
what it says it's going to do anyway. Make money at the cost of
selling and degrading other people's existences.

Lately a lot of what I see is resonating with what Bernie Sanders is
talking about on his campaign for the Democratic nomination.


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm


>> Posted by Slow Down
>> @CrescentParkAnon - How is this not an emergency involving danger? Call 911!!

Well, first, that is what I said.

- Clearly not to do in an emergency or if there is any danger. or you are not safe.

But, the article said that the knife-weilder had left the scene, true? I doubt she would
have been emailing with the phone someone was threatening her with a knife to steal.


4 people like this
Posted by FED UP
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm

@CrescentParkAnon:

How is this *not* a situation to dial 911? There is a person ARMED WITH A KNIFE wandering around downtown University Avenue, a possible threat to countless other completely unaware civilians!

This is *exactly* the type of situation that 911 is for. She should not have e-mail Stanford DPS. She should have called 911 and tell the dispatcher "I was just threatened by a person with a knife and the assailant is *still* out there."

It's easier to catch criminals when you give them less lead time to escape.

Jiminy Christmas, what the heck do you think 911 is for? Are you going to write a novella to mail to the police department? After you've had three people edit your copy, offer style suggestions?


1 person likes this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@CrescentParkAnon - If you were saying an email is not a bad idea, after you call 911, then I agree. Write details down before you forget. But after 911 is the critical thing. It doesn't matter if the robber had left the scene, or if you had run to safety in a cafe. Call 911, for everyone else's sake.


8 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2015 at 3:18 pm

When we moved to Palo Alto about twenty years ago, it was quite common to see officers walking and biking downtown, especially on University.

Although I stroll these streets every day, I really can't remember the last time I saw an officer on the beat.

From time to time, I do see officers responding to a specific incident, e.g., auto accident or rowdy person, but I don't think that serves as much of a deterrent.


6 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 8, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Someone should have decked her. I'm not a proponent of hitting women, but hey, occupational hazard. Would be a lesson not easily forgotten. I'm so tired of the blatant nature of the crimes being committed around here that I no longer have any empathy toward the perpetrator whatsoever.


3 people like this
Posted by 20yrs ago
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2015 at 3:47 pm

To: Time to Move

I recall in 1998 when the guy was killed 1 block from the police station while walking his dog on Forest Ave. He was an engineer at a tech company, just minding his own business and a couple guys jumped him. OK, that may have been 17 yrs ago rather than 20, but I still think this might undermine your theory.

But yes, feel free to move. Someone will buy your home in sixty seconds for 2x-5x what you paid for yours. Because many folks think this is still a great place to live.


8 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

@"time to move"- this is the vision of Liz Kniss, Palo Alto Forward and the pro development crowd. They want a vibrant urban megalopolis. Well, they seem to have gotten it, except it comes as a package deal, with violent crime, lots of noise and pollution, rudeness, impatience, alienation and all the other blight that urbanization entails. I have lived in Palo Alto much longer than 20 years, and you would be shocked to hear, downtown used to be remarkably safe and charming. Now its ground for, among other things, gang initiation acts and many other criminal activities. Welcomes to the joys of urban vibrancy.


8 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 4:33 pm

@mauricio:

There is nothing inherently wrong about urbanization. The problem here is some of the people.

There are plenty of large cities around the world that are quite safe. Heck, in many towns outside the USA, jewelry stores don't remove their wares from window display cases before closing like they typically do here in the States. They just leave the merchandise there 24 hours a day.

Remember, with population growth, urbanization is not something that can be eradicated, so face the reality that the true challenge is manage urbanization sensibly. You can't just stick your fingers and your ears and say, "Nyah, nyah, nyah, we're not letting anyone develop a single square foot of land here."

If that were the case, you would be posting from somewhere else. Remember, when the train tracks were laid down between San Francisco and San Jose, there were a handful of farms dotting the Peninsula. YOUR HOUSE wasn't here, Palo Alto DIDN'T EXIST, and if the people back then had taken your attitude, you would be somewhere else.

So wake up and accept what this town has become, and try to think of ways to improve it because you and I are part of the problem.


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 8, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Technically the intervening bystander could be charged with battery, for physically pushing Ms Ramirez. The law takes a dim view of escalating a confrontation. We need some legal advice here on what is appropriate. What does PAPD recommend for someone faced with an armed robber? Was that recommendation followed in this case? Is it ever legal for bystanders to detain a suspect? What would constitute a violation of Ms Ramirez' civil rights?

Can this be a teachable moment, or just a launch pad for ranting?


11 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 7:59 pm

Ramirez was ARMED with a DEADLY WEAPON. No legal system in the US would favor Ramirez over the weaponless male samaritan.

Give us a freakin' break and stop with this nonsense.

Ramirez is the aggressor and the fact that you are defending her actions is completely repellant and clearly an indication that you are devoid of logic, common sense, and empathy.


11 people like this
Posted by Sane Human Being
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Jesus H. Christ, I don't believe this character "musical".

Get a grip on reality.

The law takes a dim view of people breaking the law. Threatening someone with a knife is assault with a deadly weapon. What else more do you need? Bullets flying.

Someone please get "musical" off this site.

And please continuing taking your med, "musical."


11 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2015 at 10:22 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Sane Human Being - some people just find it easier to side with criminals than victims. Read the forums here long enough and you;ll recognize Musical questioning every PAPD arrest of criminal as a possible civil rights violation. Musical reminds me of my sociology professor who just could not see the real world beyond their political dogma.


Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2015 at 1:21 am

Sparty is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by realist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2015 at 7:35 am

This does come with the territory- the Council turning Palo Alto into
SF. This kind of brazen,irrational, unpredictable aggression and crime
on University Ave at 1:30 in the afternoon. In that sense, while it had a
much better outcome of course, it brings to mind the terrible tragedy
at Pier 14 in SF a few days ago. We need more police presence on the
streets in Palo Alto, traffic cops and patrol for enforcement and as a deterrent,that is the reality we are facing, not more management layers
and consultant studies.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2015 at 11:23 am

Sounds like a confederacy of dunces to me, starting with the armed robber and ending with the superman passerby. Give your phone up to the jerk with a knife, people.


1 person likes this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 9, 2015 at 11:27 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Hmmm - If she gave up her phone, how could she email stanford?


Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

OK, since the powers that be don't seem to want to deal in facts regarding this county and CCWs, heres a Mercury article about it:


Santa Clara County sheriff draws legal fire for way she hands out concealed-gun permits

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Captain K
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Beam me up, Scottie. There's no intelligent life on this thread.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2015 at 7:36 pm

@Captain K:

Welcome to Palo Alto!

I hope you enjoyed your stay!


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2015 at 7:55 pm

Slow Down - she'd go to the Apple Store nearby, purchase a new phone, and 5 hours later she'd be able to email Stanford DPS!


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

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