Two men allegedly physically assaulted and robbed another man in a downtown Palo Alto parking lot early Saturday morning, police said.
At about 1:45 a.m., a man in his 20s was smoking a cigarette and walking through city parking lot "N" at 539 Emerson St. when he saw two men next to a parked silver Toyota Camry, police said. One of the alleged attackers asked him if he could have a cigarette; the man agreed and approached him, intending to hand him a cigarette, according to police. The man "suddenly" started punching the alleged victim in his head and demanded he give him his property.
The victim "yelled out," police said in a press release, at which point the man attacking him put his hands around his neck "in an apparent attempt to quiet him."
The second man began pushing the victim toward the Camry; the victim later told police he thought it was to prevent others from hearing his calls for help. As they got closer to the car, the victim saw a third man sitting in the back seat but said he did not get involved.
The victim was able to free himself from the two men and ran to a nearby business for help, at which point he realized they had also stolen his cell phone.
He sustained scratches and abrasions to his neck, police said. Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department treated him and released him at the scene.
The victim described the first man as a Hispanic male in his 20s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build and a full beard, police said. He was wearing a brown plaid beanie, brown plaid jacket and blue jeans. He described the second man also as a Hispanic male in his 20s, unshaven, with a thin build and standing about 6 feet tall.
Their vehicle, the victim told police, was a newer-model silver Camry with California license plates. The car was gone by the time the man notified police.
Police said it is unknown whether or not the victim will be able to work with a police artist to produce a sketch of the suspects, but if he does, the police department will release the sketches as soon as they are available.
Police also interviewed a witness who saw the robbery as it took place. There is no surveillance video available of the men involved, police said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police 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.