Palo Alto police are looking for a bicyclist who robbed a woman, dragged her on University Avenue in downtown for several feet and had her running after him as she screamed for help on Wednesday night.
The woman, who's in her 20s, was walking west on the 100 block of University Avenue shortly before 9 p.m. when the attack took place. While looking down at her phone, a man on a bicycle approached her from behind and grabbed her purse, police said in a press release issued Thursday. She held on to her purse and was dragged several feet. The woman eventually let go of the purse but chased the robber while she screamed for help.
The robber escaped and fled north on High Street on his bicycle. The woman described him as a tall black man in his 20s with a thin build. He is about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs around 170 pounds with short, curly black hair. He wore a charcoal gray jacket and black pants. Investigators don't know the model of the bicycle, police said.
Detectives are actively investigating the strong-arm robbery. They are looking to see if video-surveillance footage might have captured the incident. There does not appear to be any connection to similar robbery attempts earlier this year, police said.
If the woman agrees to meet with a police artist to help create a sketch of the robber, the department plans to issue the drawing to the community.
"During the holiday season, please remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings," the department warned the public.
Anyone with information about Wednesday's strong-arm robbery is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] 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.