Palo Alto movie theater employees robbed at gunpoint

Suspects remain at large, police say

Palo Alto police are searching for two men they say robbed two movie theater employees at gunpoint on El Camino Real Tuesday night.

At about 10:05 p.m., police received a call from employees at CineArts at Palo Alto Square, located at 3000 El Camino Real, reporting that they had just been robbed. The robbers escaped before police officers arrived. There were no injuries to the victims, police said.

Investigators said two men armed with handguns entered the movie theater lobby through unlocked doors after closing time, while two employees were cleaning up. No moviegoers were present at the time of the robbery, police said.

One of the men pointed a gun at an employee, an adult male in his teens, while the other robber put a gun to the head of the second employee, a woman in her 20s, and demanded their cellphones and to be taken to the safe.

The employees did what they asked and opened the safe, but when the men did not see much money readily accessible, they fled, taking only the employees' cellphones and no money, police said.

The victims described the first robber as a Hispanic male in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall with a skinny build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants, black gloves and a black mask similar to an athletic training mask. The second robber is described as a black male in his 20s, about 6 feet tall with a skinny build. He was also wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants, black gloves and a black mask. Both were armed with black semi-automatic handguns, police said.

Neither surveillance video nor sketches of the robbers are available at this time, police said.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department 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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14 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 9:37 am

How did the robbers know the doors would be unlocked after closing time and that there is a safe in the building? Sounds like an inside job to me.

8 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm

What a horrible experience for the employees to have to go through ... and no video?
I am relieved that no one was physically hurt, but the mental scars of that kind of
experience can be traumatizing. I hope our Palo Alto Police can track these bastards
down and put them away. I sincerely hope that the Palo Alto Square theater and the
whole complex will act and put in security cameras ASAP. As more people use credit
cards and smartphone pay systems the less money there is for people to steal the
more likely that these psychopaths get violent. I'm very sorry to read this.

2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Movie theaters don't get much business Monday through Thursday so there wouldn't be much cash on hand on Tuesday night. Maybe the insider didn't tell the robbers this? Or maybe the insider works only on the weekend shift?

4 people like this
Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm

[Post removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by RS
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2016 at 3:16 pm

To resident: it said nothing was taken but the employee's cell phones. So how would the inside job benefit them? Also, I've never worked at an establishment that didn't have a safe where they keep their money they made that day.

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

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