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 firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.