Woman puts up fight against robber on a bike | News | Palo Alto Online |


Woman puts up fight against robber on a bike

Police are seeking video footage of brazen theft

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 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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7 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 12, 2019 at 3:13 pm

This is terrible! I hope real effort is made to find any video footage. I am outraged by strong arm robbery and know of several other such incidents against women in particular.

27 people like this
Posted by shane246
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 12, 2019 at 7:24 pm

what an outrage ? how dare the cops violate the rights of the suspect by identifying his race ? was the theft for more $950 ? if not, california prop 47 says petty theft less than $950 will not be pursued to free up police resources for more serious crime. the funny thing is a suspect can commit as many petty thefts as possible and each theft will be de-prioritized as long as it is less than $950. so glad that I live in this liberal utopia

28 people like this
Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2019 at 12:34 am

These criminals never live in Palo Alto, they travel distances thinking this is Candyland.

10 people like this
Posted by Safe Practices
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2019 at 11:53 am

Safe Practices is a registered user.

I'm sorry this happened to this young woman. It must've been terrifying. Hopefully she's ok. I also hope the robber is caught and jailed for terrorizing people. Yes, it's just stuff, but she could've been seriously hurt or worse.

With that said . . . Look up! Be aware of your surroundings! Especially at night in the dark! If you must look at your phone, step to the side with your back to a wall or inside a building where you're protected.

Never walk in a public place or busy street looking down at your phone. I see it all the time: people walking on the sidewalk, even in crosswalks with cars zooming all around, looking down at their phones. I even see people biking, with one or no hands, looking down instead of ahead of them at traffic, while talking or texting on their phones.

Please do not respond by saying I'm blaming the victim. We all take precautions every day in life to keep ourselves safe because sh-t happens.

8 people like this
Posted by Know a Robbery
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 13, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Know a Robbery is a registered user.

To Shane246: Agreed, if this were a petty theft. A petty theft is taking something of a value less than $950 from its rightful owner without permission and with the the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its use. Period.

It's hard to imagine not being outraged by this aggressive violation of the victim. This is NOT a petty theft! The intent is the same, but the crime is taking something of any value from a person by the use of ANY amount of force. This is a robbery, not a simple theft. Check out CA Penal Code section 211.

Posted by PAPD illegally search me
a resident of South of Midtown

on Dec 13, 2019 at 5:22 pm

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Posted by america steals lives daily
a resident of Southgate

on Dec 13, 2019 at 5:23 pm

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Posted by kar4ma for trump enabling
a resident of Ventura

on Dec 13, 2019 at 5:24 pm

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