A 16-year-old was arrested by Palo Alto police on Monday night after he was allegedly involved in robbing a man and threatening to shoot another and his dog just minutes apart. Officers are searching for an alleged accomplice who remains out of custody as of Wednesday evening.
The first incident involved a man in his 50s who called police on March 15 around 9:05 p.m. and reported he had just been accosted by two males, one of whom had threatened to shoot him and the dog he was walking. The incident occurred on the path separating the Charleston Shopping Center in the 3900 block of Middlefield Road from the Cubberley Community Center athletic fields.
During their investigation, responding officers located two additional people who had a run-in with the teenager and the alleged accomplice. A man in his late teens and a boy reported they had just been robbed by the same two males in the parking lot behind the Cubberley center. One of the robbers demanded their wallets and threatened to pull out a gun and hurt them if they didn't comply, they told police. The pair targeted in the robbery didn't report seeing a gun.
The older teen did not have a wallet. One of the robbers reached into the boy's pocket and forcibly removed his wallet and a portable battery charger. He dropped the wallet after he didn't find any money. Both alleged robbers fled on foot north through the Charleston Shopping Center parking lot, police said.
Officers canvassing the area located the alleged robbers hiding along the southern fence line of Mitchell Park. They both ran north into the park's fields when they saw police. One male was detained after a short chase; the other eluded capture despite an extensive search, police said.
Police found a loaded, unregistered 9mm handgun in the pouch of the 16-year-old's sweatshirt. Officers located narcotics, including marijuana packaged for sale, LSD, psilocybin-infused edibles, a spare loaded magazine for the handgun and an unsheathed, fixed-blade knife with a 6-inch-long blade in his backpack.
He was arrested on suspicion of multiple felonies and misdemeanors, including possession of an unregistered, concealed and loaded firearm; possession of marijuana for sale; possession of psilocybin and LSD; possession of a concealed dirk/dagger; and resisting arrest for fleeing when he was contacted by police. Officers recommended the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office charge him with an additional felony of conspiracy due to his involvement in the threats case and the robbery.
The second individual, who escaped capture, is thought to be the one who committed the actual robbery and who made the criminal threats, police said, based on the victims' statements. Detectives are actively investigating the case in an effort to identify and arrest the robber who fled the scene. He is described as being of an unknown race, between the ages of 16 and 22, tall and slender, with light-colored hair. He was wearing dark-colored clothing and a blue surgical-style face covering.
The 16-year-old from San Mateo was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, police said.
Anyone with information about the incidents 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.