A woman was sexually assaulted and robbed by a man who asked her for spare change as she got in her car in downtown Palo Alto early Monday morning, police said.
The woman, who is in her 30s, had been walking on the south side of Everett Avenue toward Alma Street around 4:10 a.m. to her parked car. She was approached by a man who asked her for spare change, police said in a press release.
She said she did and reached into her car to look for the money when he first struck her back, then the back of her head with an unknown object, police said. He then sexually assaulted the woman, who started to scream and fought back. The man was able to reach into her jacket pocket and take her wallet before he fled on foot on east on Everett and turned north on Emerson Street.
The woman drove to the police station to report the sexual assault and robbery about 10 minutes later, according to the news release. Officers searched the area but were unable to find the man.
She was later treated by Palo Alto fire paramedics for pain to the back of her head, according to police.
The woman described the attacker as a white man in his late 20s to mid-30s and about 5 feet 11 inches tall with a skinny build, brown or dirty blonde long straight hair and an unkempt beard, police said. He was wearing a beanie with a pompom on top.
Monday's sexual assault is not related to two others on Dec. 29 along El Camino Real and on Dec. 20 in the Southgate neighborhood. Detectives made arrests in those respective cases less than a week after they occurred.
The police department has noted that three sexual assaults within three weeks are "very unusual." Authorities recommend people stay aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.
Anyone with information about Monday's incident 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 by text message or voice mail 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.