News

Police seek man in attempted robbery

Woman shoved while walking at Eleanor Pardee Park

Palo Alto police are searching for a man who shoved a woman to the ground in a local park and attempted to rob her on Wednesday night.

The violent encounter took place just prior to 8 p.m. at Eleanor Pardee Park, located at 851 Center Drive, police said in a press release on Thursday. The woman, who is in her 20s, was walking on a park path near Center Drive when a man she didn't know shoved her from the side. After she fell to the ground, he leaned over her and grabbed at her pants pockets.

She swung her arms at the man and rolled away from him. He fled on foot toward Center Drive, she told police. The man never spoke to the woman and he did not take anything from her, according to police. The woman suffered a minor injury to her ankle but declined medical attention.

The woman told police she thought the man intended to rob her. She described the man as a light-skinned male who is about 40 years old and around 6 feet tall with a muscular build. The man was clean-shaven and wore a dark, hooded sweatshirt, pants and dark shoes.

Police don't anticipate they will produce a sketch of the man. Detectives are actively investigating the case. There does not seem to be a connection between this incident and any other recent Palo Alto robberies, police said.

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 paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

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Comments

12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 12, 2018 at 9:43 am

The victim was very lucky to get away from the attacker. We'll be on the lookout for 6 foot clean-shaven white man. I hope the police are canvassing nearby residents for security videos.


17 people like this
Posted by Be Safe Out There
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 12, 2018 at 9:58 am

Walking alone in a public park after hours is no longer safe in Palo Alto...especially if one is elderly or a woman.

Best to have a walking companion or a large dog to accompany you.

Knowing aikido is also helpful as it is a purely defensive form of martial arts.



25 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 12, 2018 at 10:52 am

8pm is not "after hours". Signs say that city parks are open until 10:30pm. Don't blame the victim.

Walking on quiet park path is usually much safer than walking next to speeding SUVs.


15 people like this
Posted by Exercise Caution at Night
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 12, 2018 at 3:00 pm

> 8pm is not "after hours". Signs say that city parks are open until 10:30pm.

DST makes a difference. Nowadays, by 8PM it's pretty dark out there.

>> Walking on quiet park path is usually much safer than walking next to speeding SUVs.

If one chooses to walk along the shoulder of a road or street, possibly. On a 'quiet path' during periods of darkness, I might beg to differ given the various accounts of recent muggings and attacks in PA while jogging, walking etc.

Why go asking for trouble?



6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2018 at 4:21 pm

More urban "vibrancy"?


16 people like this
Posted by Be Safe Out There
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 12, 2018 at 5:50 pm

> 8pm is not "after hours". Signs say that city parks are open until 10:30pm. Don't blame the victim.

Not blaming the victim. Just saying to use due diligence when walking alone at night.


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2018 at 2:15 am

As a city we had better start thinking about how to handle these increasing number of violent crimes on our city streets. Over the years this has done nothing but get worse. I am sick of reading about this kind of thing.

I'd like the PAO, or the PAPD to publish some stats on how many of these types of crimes there are, how many are solved, how many are prosecuted and found guilty. What is the dispensation of these cases, and how many remain unsolved?

I would imagine that if you go walking alone on Palo Alto streets and just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time you run more of a risk of being victimized than you do of winning the lottery. People buy lottery tickets, so that means emotionally at least they should realize there is a chance of them being victims in this kind of situation.

What are we going to do about this? We cannot have police patrols everywhere, We could do cameras, but then do we trust where that data will go, what it can be used for, or who will have access to it?

I have an uncomfortable question to ask and hope to get some intelligent answers too. Last week I was driving down Louis going South between California and Oregan, a residential streets, a more or less main artery, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a very dark complected person walking down the sidewalk dressed head to toe completely in black, with a black wool cap on. I was completely stymied as to what to do. If I called the police, by the time police got there he would surely have been gone, and If I call the police because it is a black person looking suspicious to me, a white person and offered to follow him, I do not want to seem to be cast as a George Zimmerman type. I don't have a gun and I am not a vigilante, but the question for you all is what would you do, and what would you like others to do in that situation? I should have called the police and at least asked I suppose. Is there any case where freedom should mean that someone should need to walk around town wearing all black after dark?

Why do we have people walking around our city dressed in what amounts to burglar clothes when things like this are happening? What can or should be done about it. Like bicyclists, should pedestrians have to be visible, or have flashing lights on them? Is there anything in our legal code that makes it a crime or a justification to stop someone and ID them if they are behaving suspiciously?

Remember that to not do anything is to leave a lot of people in such fear that they do not bother to go outside - even in our parks ... and now this is not even just at night either.

Just having one experience of this sort is enough to give people trauma and fear to walk in their own expensive neighborhoods at night.

My thoughts are we should have a neighborhood watch or walk where people go out and walk on our streets to put eyes and ears out there ... but I just do not think that is sustainable.


11 people like this
Posted by Jemaho
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 13, 2018 at 8:04 am

Dear ‘Crescent Park Anon’

Just a curt answer to your question:
No, you should not call the police because a person is wearing dark clothes or has a dark complexion. Those two factors do not amount to ‘acting suspiciously’
Holy mackerel, which century are we in?


15 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2018 at 8:58 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: Is there any case where freedom should mean that someone should need to walk around town wearing all black after dark?

Other than all-black clothing being difficult for some motorists to see at night (if the person dressed in black happens to be a pedestrian), what people choose to wear after-hours is pretty much their freedom of choice.

Dress has gotten pretty casual over the years and just about everyone has worn a dark hooded sweatshirt at one time or another. Unfortunately this particular attire is also worn by some individuals to conceal their appearances during the commitment of criminal activity as well.

On the other hand, contacting the PAPD if you happen to see someone suspicious in your own neighborhood is not unreasonable. It's a judgement call on your part.





12 people like this
Posted by You Are Not Alone
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2018 at 10:00 am

>> Last week I was driving down Louis going South between California and Oregan, a residential streets, a more or less main artery, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a very dark complected person walking down the sidewalk dressed head to toe completely in black, with a black wool cap on. I was completely stymied as to what to do...I should have called the police and at least asked I suppose.

Chances are the police might have stopped him for questioning. If someone does not look like they belong in a certain neighborhood, certain questions arise.

Besides...if the person has a legitimate reason for being there or happens to be a local resident, no problem. All they have to do is show some ID.

When someone chooses to wear suspicious-looking attire, it is up to them to answer for their presumed appearances. And while it may be a fashion statement for some, to others it's a red flag signifying a criminal work uniform.

To err on the side of caution is being a responsible citizen.


11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 13, 2018 at 10:35 am

Realistically, all clothes look dark at night in most parts of Palo Alto. I was recently crossing the street at night in a marked crosswalk and was almost nailed by a car driver. The woman stopped just in time and yelled at me that she couldn't see me because I was wearing dark clothes. I was wearing a WHITE SHIRT. The problem is that the street lights in many parts of town are so dim that pedestrians are apparently invisible. If we want to encourage people to walk around town (for transportation or exercise), we need to brighten the street lights, especially along popular pedestrian routes. This includes public parks. LED street lights are so efficient these days that reducing the power level to save energy is a bogus excuse.


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2018 at 11:13 am

Jemaho:
> No, you should not call the police because a person is wearing dark clothes or has a dark complexion.

At the risk of running this into the ground, I did not exactly say that ... I said this person was wearing all black clothes including a black cap, black not dark AND also had a dark complexion. It was the absolutely all black clothes covering his whole body that was suspicious. Now if you can, go back and ignore anything I said about complexion and tell me what you would think. The dark complexion facet of this comment was meant to express that there is an element of self-consciousness that is lacking with anyone goes out in public dressed like a burglar and avoids the light. Then tell me what you would do? How would you feel if he were walking on your block outside your house?

The dark complexion part maybe I should not have mentioned because it primes people to feel a certain way about the issue - one way or the other. I also did not mention that I turned around to see what this person was doing, and as hard as it was to even see him, when I did he made a turn to the east towards 101 to avoid the lights at Louis and Oregon down the sidewalk that disappeared into the bushes.

I have called the police for less suspicious circumstances than that regardless of complexion. I think the reason I did not was only that it would have been impossible for the police to find and see this person by the time they arrive one scene unless I had followed him in my car, which I could not as the turn he took was down a sidewalk and not a street. I guess the point that I am trying to make is how hard simple it is for a potential bad actor to be anywhere in our town. And yes, I do wonder what police would do confronted with seeing this person in this age of political correctness?


15 people like this
Posted by Window on Dana Street
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2018 at 1:00 pm

"No, you should not call the police because a person is wearing dark clothes or has a dark complexion."

Concur. But if they are acting suspiciously or not a recognizable neighbor, I would.
That's what the police are for...to catch and release (if innocent).

Crescent Park has a certain proximity which lends itself to residential burglaries.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 13, 2018 at 9:22 pm

I would prefer stronger, brighter street lights and believe they help to deter criminal activity.
I believe the City changed our streetlamp by our home to a much weaker one some years ago...
Likely high initial cost, possible savings years out, in meantime an encouragement to criminals
State of CA policies, laws increasingly encourage criminals


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2018 at 7:17 am

I agree that a lot of Palo Alto needs more and better street lighting. To actually improve visibility will generally require new fixtures and lights, however. Bad lights can actually worsen visibility and just create glare. Very bright lights make in more difficult to see in adjacent unlit areas, and, disturb nearby residents. Newer, better lighting will have more fixtures with downward-directed less-bright warm-spectrum light designed to minimize light pollution.

Web Link

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 14, 2018 at 8:29 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

More police, more police on patrol, not more lights.


14 people like this
Posted by G100 to G116
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2018 at 10:28 am

"I would imagine that if you go walking alone on Palo Alto streets and just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time you run more of a risk of being victimized than you do of winning the lottery."


That's just an incredible sentence.


2 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood Watch
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm

>> No, you should not call the police because a person is wearing dark clothes or has a dark complexion. Those two factors do not amount to ‘acting suspiciously’

On the other hand, if you happen to see people matching this particular description sitting idly in a parked car in your neighborhood and they don't happen to live there, it might not be a bad idea to contact the PAPD.


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 14, 2018 at 2:54 pm

The perp in this case is reported to be a middle-aged white man. If you would call the police about an unknown middle-aged white man loitering on your street, then you should feel comfortable about reporting anyone else loitering on your street.


Like this comment
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 14, 2018 at 10:49 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@ resident -We get enough white meth heads coming to Palo Alto to grab some quick cash that you should feel comfortable reporting anyone suspicious. FWIW, You've said "white man" in multiple comments, but that's not what the report says.


12 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2018 at 10:20 am

Posted by Neighborhood Watch, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> >> No, you should not call the police because a person is wearing dark clothes or has a dark complexion. Those two factors do not amount to ‘acting suspiciously’

>> On the other hand, if you happen to see people matching this particular description sitting idly in a parked car in your neighborhood and they don't happen to live there, it might not be a bad idea to contact the PAPD.

Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown North

>> The perp in this case is reported to be a middle-aged white man. If you would call the police about an unknown middle-aged white man loitering on your street, then you should feel comfortable about reporting anyone else loitering on your street.

Hey, as someone who likes -to walk-, and, has actually walked through most neighborhoods in this city, I'm slightly disturbed by the suggestion that anyone -walking- through another neighborhood is automatically "suspicious".

How about if we stop people who are -actually breaking the law-. While driving, for example. Such as, speeding, running stop signs, turning right at red lights without stopping, speeding by 15+ mph over the speed limit, blocking lanes in intersections by deliberately pulling across when it is clear the light will change, tailgating, speeding while turning right at stop signs and red lights, and so on.


Like this comment
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 15, 2018 at 10:45 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Anon - everyone agrees walking is not "automatically suspicious", so thanks for pointing out that we all agree on that. Suspicious behavior may include loitering ("travel indolently and with frequent pauses"), or casing cars or houses amongst other things.


8 people like this
Posted by rent a dog
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 15, 2018 at 11:49 am

"travel indolently and with frequent pauses"

Then rent a dog.

But seriously, this ain't about walkers, this is always about 'others'.

Isn't it?


8 people like this
Posted by Keep an Eye Out for Thugs
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 15, 2018 at 1:43 pm

If they are Girl Scouts selling cookies door to door or gardeners maintaining a neighbor's property, no problem. The same goes for Roto-Rooter and other services.

But if someone is loitering around the neighborhood for no apparent reason or in a parked car for an extended period of time, I'd question it.

Some PA neighborhoods have a characteristic look to them and anything out of the ordinary can be deemed suspicious.

Call the police and let them take over from there. You may be preventing another burglary, robbery or an assault.

Looks do matter in this case.


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