A man who allegedly attempted to steal a car and threatened to kill someone at Palo Alto's Town & Country Village shopping center was taken into custody early Sunday after an officer deployed a Taser on him as he resisted arrest, according to police.
Emergency dispatchers received several calls about a woman shouting for help outside of Peet's Coffee at the shopping center at 855 El Camino Real at around 6:30 a.m.
The woman had parked her BMW outside of the coffee shop with the key in the vehicle and the door unlocked, police said Wednesday in a press release. Before she entered the store, the woman noticed a man, later identified as a 53-year-old man, in the driver's seat of her car. The woman ran back to her vehicle in an attempt to remove him — at one point kicking and yelling at him, the press release stated — but the man refused to leave the car.
Another man nearby tried to help the woman, but the 53-year-old allegedly threatened to kill him, according to the press release. Other bystanders called police and within three minutes of the calls, one officer arrived while the man was still inside the woman's vehicle.
The 53-year-old allegedly refused arrest commands, swore at the officer and told the officer to back up. He then stepped out of the vehicle and moved toward the officer in an "aggressive manner," according to the news release.
The officer discharged his Taser once, hitting the man, before he put into custody, police said. He was not injured, the statement said, but paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department transported him to a hospital, following the standard protocol after a Taser is deployed. The woman did not report any injuries.
During the investigation, a passerby notified officers about a possible abandoned vehicle, a 1999 Mercedes-Benz sedan, in another part of the shopping center's parking lot. The driver's door was left open and no one was around.
Searching the car, officers found a wallet with the 53-year-old's driver's license inside. Police discovered that the car was not registered to him but to someone in San Jose who could not be reached by the department. The vehicle was then towed after finding the registration fees had not been paid in 18 months.
Police are conducting a follow-up investigation to determine if the car had been stolen, the news release stated.
The 53-year-old man, who had no permanent address, was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of carjacking and resisting arrest.
Anyone with information about this incident 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.
Editor's note: The Weekly's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the District Attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. See our guidelines here.