Man beaten, robbed Friday night on bike path

Police release sketch that illustrates one of the three assailants

A pedestrian walks along the bike path parallel to the Caltrain tracks near Encina Avenue, close to the site where a man was beaten and robbed on Nov. 23, 2018. Photo by Veronica Weber.

A man walking along a bike path south of downtown Palo Alto while texting on his iPhone on Friday night was assaulted, beaten and robbed, according to a Palo Alto Police Department press release issued Saturday afternoon. The victim, who required medical care after the incident, which was reported to police at 8:14 p.m., said his assailants were three men in their 20s, only one of whom physically attacked him before the trio fled with his phone and Air Pods.

The assailants are still at large, police said.

The victim, reported to be in his 20s, was attacked on the path that parallels the railroad tracks between Churchill Avenue and the University Avenue transit center, police said. He was approached by the suspects just north of Encina Avenue.

The victim told police that one of the suspects knocked him down and repeatedly punched him in the face. After stealing the items they demanded from the victim, the three assailants fled north on the bike path toward downtown, according to the press release.

Hearing the victim yelling, an employee from a nearby business came to his aid. He found the victim with a bloodied face and called police, who searched the area with the help of a dog from the Mountain View Police Department canine unit, but they could not locate the assailants, the press release said.

The victim was taken to a local hospital by Palo Alto Fire Department paramedics; he was treated for lacerations and swelling to his face, and was later released, police said.

The victim described the man who physically attacked him as a Hispanic man in his mid-20s; around 5 feet and 9 inches tall; and weighing around 225 pounds. The department released a sketch of this suspect on Monday night.

The other two assailants were described as Hispanic; around 5 feet and 9 inches tall; and weighing about 180 pounds.

Police said that detectives are actively investigating the incident, and that a suspect sketch may be produced and distributed.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.

Anonymous tips can be emailed to, or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police department's free mobile app, downloadable at or

Read our interview with the employee who assisted the young man here.


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71 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm

There have been several reports of pedestrians being beaten and/or robbed near downtown this year. Part of the problem is that many of the popular pedestrian routes are very dark at night and pedestrians cannot see robbers hiding in the shadows. This applies both to bike paths like this one and some of the quiet streets south of downtown where there are tall bushes or fences on the residential side of the sidewalk and tall SUVs on the street side of the sidewalk. We really need to find ways to light up these sidewalks more to make them safer. Also, increase police patrols of pedestrian routes by police on foot or on bicycles, since these paths are difficult to see from patrol cars. This robbery was at 8pm when people are walking home after work or after dinner downtown. We can't encourage people to walk and bike to work if the sidewalks and bike paths are really dangerous. Again, this was not the first pedestrian robbery near downtown in recent months.

32 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of University South
on Nov 24, 2018 at 4:45 pm

I'll bet you $100 that they got on the 8:17 or 8:32pm Caltrain without paying the fare.

32 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 24, 2018 at 6:56 pm

R.Davis is a registered user.

Criminy. They didn't have to physically hurt the guy. Being robbed was bad enough.

QUOTE: This robbery was at 8pm when people are walking home after work or after dinner downtown. We can't encourage people to walk and bike to work if the sidewalks and bike paths are really dangerous.


46 people like this
Posted by Flyboy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 26, 2018 at 10:52 am

Flyboy is a registered user.

I was born and raised in Palo Alto and am back visiting my mother who still resides in our home.
Every time I return to Palo Alto and read about assaults I am more convinced about my decision to live in Colorado. In Colorado we rarely have these random assaults as citizens have the right to open carry firearms and the ability once vetted to receive a concealed carry permit.
[Portion removed.]

35 people like this
Posted by Flyboy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 26, 2018 at 11:00 am

Flyboy is a registered user.

I know that there are those that will find my previous comment offensive and "red neck". But the reality is "guns don't kill people, people kill people". The truth is if someone want's a gun to aid in a crime they will attain one no matter what laws on on the books. I conceal carry my weapon to Church every Sunday with the blessing of the Church staff.

15 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2018 at 1:45 pm is a registered user.

Well, I don't agree with your world view, Flyboy, nor your rather juvenile "make my day" fantasy. But boy am I glad for the 1st Amendment, giving you the right to express your views on a street corner, online, in a newspaper's letter to the editor, etc.

17 people like this
Posted by Mimi Wolf
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm

Mimi Wolf is a registered user.

Every time I approach even the downtown library, the police station and especially the bench at Forest and Gilman I remember Bert Kay. Heartbreaking, senseless murder Web Link

14 people like this
Posted by ‘82 Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 27, 2018 at 1:41 am

‘82 Paly Alum is a registered user.

If we could be a gated community, it would be like growing up in the 70s and 80s again: virtually no traffic, no crime, no assaults or men exposing themselves to children. In elementary school, we’d skateboard or bike all over town with no fear of being hit by a car, or we’d take the bus to Mayfield Mall or Stanford mall. These criminals are all non-residents who view our city as a candy store. Sigh.

4 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 27, 2018 at 11:48 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Dear "'82 Paly Alum" -

You are wrong about crime in the '70's and 80's. There was a lot of crime then. Numerous cites exist to prove you wrong, but I will point you to a recent article on this very website: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Flyboy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 29, 2018 at 9:18 am

Flyboy is a registered user.

I appreciate sgartner's comments and his views, however in Colorado "Make my day" is a law on the books. While in my home in Colorado if someone breaks in and I fear for my life I am justified to defend myself by lethal force. Not the greatest of outcomes for the perpetrator but to protect me and my family so be it.

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

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