News

Police: Woman fights off two would-be robbers in Midtown

One of two men push her to the ground, throw her cellphone, pull glasses off her face

Palo Alto police are looking for two men who they said attacked a woman during an attempted robbery on Monday afternoon in the city's Midtown neighborhood, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

The two men reportedly approached the woman, who's in her 50s, shortly before 3 p.m. on Monday while she was sitting in her car in the 700 block of Colorado Avenue near Middlefield Road. One man came up to her and began offering repair services for dents on her vehicle, according to the news release. She refused but he persisted, prompting her to start recording him with her cellphone, police said.

Then, another man came up to the back of the vehicle and began yelling and cursing at her, police said. The woman reportedly got out of the car and began recording the second man, at which point the first man grabbed the phone out of her hand, pulled her glasses off her face and pushed her to the ground, police said.

As the woman fell backward, she grabbed the first man's shirt and was able to tear it off his body. Police said the man then threw her phone across a parking lot and ran away with his accomplice.

Police said the woman suffered minor injuries to her hand, shoulder and elbow but refused medical service. She found her glasses and phone nearby, police said.

Police do not believe the Monday attack is related to any other recent strong-arm robbery.

The woman described the first man who approached her as a Hispanic man and about 30 to 35 years old. He is reportedly around 5 feet and 9 inches tall and weighs roughly 150 pounds. He was described as wearing a long-sleeved purple shirt.

She described the second man as a tanned man, apparently in his 30s. He is about 6 feet tall, heavy-set and has shoulder-length black hair, police said. Her photo of him provided to police shows him wearing a black and white Ecko-brand T-shirt, dark sunglasses and a gray Bass Pro Shops hat.

Anyone with information about the strong-arm robbery 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

13 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm

The tanned "unknown race" man in the photo looks awfully white to me.


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 13, 2019 at 5:44 pm

The author probably should have said "unknown nationality".

This victim was lucky to have gotten away with only minor injuries. Getting out of her car (to film or fight) was really stupid. Stay inside, close the windows, lock the doors, drive away, and call 911.

BTW - Who wrote the subheadline: "One of two men push her to the ground, throw her cellphone, pull glasses off her face"? Completely incorrect verb tense, editors.


41 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2019 at 6:06 pm

"The tanned "unknown race" man in the photo looks awfully white to me."

Not to me. Looks central asian or middle eastern. In any event, we should all know who he is soon enough thanks to the photo.


3 people like this
Posted by Roving Repairmen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 13, 2019 at 8:36 pm

The minor dent repair business is a lucrative job for those with the skills.

They often drive through a parking lots and offer to remove dents in plastic bumpers for anywhere from $60-$80 + paintwork if needed (another $80 or so).

It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to soften & push-out the dent (with a heat gun & pry bar) + another 30 minutes for touch-up paint work.

Not bad money...$150 or so for about 45 minutes of time involved.

Of course this is not steady work. It takes a willing customer who doesn't want to go to a body shop & have the entire bumper replaced for $600+.

I've had my bumper repaired by these 'fly by night' tradesmen.


34 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Pops
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Doesn’t sound like this was a robbery at all - just an assault after they got irritated that she was filming their sales pitch. “Woman assaulted after filming car repair pitch” is totally different than woman fights off robbers...


19 people like this
Posted by tell a book by it's cover?
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 13, 2019 at 11:56 pm

"Not to me. Looks central asian or middle eastern."

Not really, but maybe I'm fooled by the "white dude" costume (stupid bike shirt and bass pro shop hat.)


21 people like this
Posted by Billy
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2019 at 6:36 am

[Portion removed.] This was a assult, One of the men had her phone. If it was a robbery attempt, He would have kept it not thrown it accross the parking lot. Strong arm robbery.??????? Advice for the lady. Next time dont get out of your car and start filming. This will enraged just about anyone. Lesson learned i hope.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2019 at 7:49 am

Since when do robbers throw a phone down. I suspect he just didn't like being filmed. Whenever someone is obviously filming you and they don't want to be filmed they are going to prevent it in whatever way they can.

What we really have is a society that is ready to accuse someone of something. Just because someone is offering to do some work, or panhandle, or even to invite someone on a date, it is not necessarily with criminal intent. Filming people is much too easy and when it happens to you it can be disconcerting. Other countries have laws about it, particularly children.

I am not defending the man in this, I wasn't there, but I think we have to be a lot more open minded rather than ready to accuse.


17 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 14, 2019 at 8:28 am

I agree that the "robbers" headline may not be entirely accurate. It would be more accurate to say "violent attackers". Either way, these are not good people and they need to be brought to justice.

Not wanting to be filmed does not give you a right to violently attack others. If you don't want to be filmed, stay in our hose and out of public places.


10 people like this
Posted by yasukono
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:06 am

yasukono is a registered user.

"Attempted robbery?" According to the facts reported in this article, this was a confrontation. Filming someone who is "panhandling" is an aggressive act. The men should have walked away, but where was the "robbery"?


5 people like this
Posted by rh
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:19 am

Lots of gray in those sideburns for someone in his 30s.


16 people like this
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:48 am

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 14, 2019 at 12:04 pm

[Portion removed.]

The case as described is clear: a woman is attacked. Regardless her actions, there is no such thing as "she should not have..." or she should "learn her lessons". Do not blame the victims. Violently attacking another person makes you the attacker, regardless the justification.

...and then we have all these speculations about the person's race.

We should be better than this.


7 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Who cares what the skin color of those guys are. And, yes, not a good idea to get out of a car to film anyone; call 9-1-1 and let the police do the work. That's what they are paid to do.


15 people like this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 14, 2019 at 12:48 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Of course skin color is in a report to police. Sheeeesh.


16 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2019 at 1:23 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Lots of blaming the victim in the comments. "She should not have gotten out of her car and started filming." "She was the aggressor for filming."

Yikes.


29 people like this
Posted by Jane Gill
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 14, 2019 at 2:22 pm

If the woman had a permit to carry a handgun (for self-defense purposes), and the two men saw her weapon, I doubt this incident would have happened.


32 people like this
Posted by @ Jane Gill
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2019 at 4:48 pm

You're absolutely right. They would almost certainly have successfully taken her gun instead of successfully taking her phone.


4 people like this
Posted by CarlitoWaysman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2019 at 6:24 pm

[Post removed.]


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

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