News

Police investigate two street robberies in 15 hours

Thieves accost man in early morning hours; others steal cellphone from woman's hand

Palo Alto police suspect two thefts that took place 15 hours apart between March 14 and 15, 2022 are not related.

Palo Alto police are investigating two robberies involving pedestrians that occurred within 15 hours of one another, they said in statements released Tuesday.

At 1 a.m. on March 15, a man in his 30s was robbed in the 300 block of University Avenue by two men who approached him while he was walking. The men told him to empty his pockets. One of the men lifted his sweatshirt to display a black handgun in the waistband of his pants.

The man gave them the contents of his pockets and backpack. One of the men took the man's laptop out of the backpack, but returned it after the victim said it was a "work" laptop. The other man took the pedestrian's cellphone but returned it after his partner told him not to take it. The duo kept two of the man's credit cards and walked east on University Avenue, according to police.

Arriving officers were not able to locate the two men. They were both wearing hooded sweatshirts and face coverings. One was about 5 feet, 10 inches tall; the other was about 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

Police are investigating another robbery that occurred 15 hours earlier at about 9:40 a.m. on March 14. In this case, two men ran past a woman in her 40s walking on a sidewalk in the 2000 block of Webster Street and stole a cellphone out of her hand.

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The woman told police she was talking on her cellphone when she noticed two males walking behind her for a couple of minutes. She then heard them running toward her, and one of the men grabbed her phone as they passed her. They ran across the street to a white four-door sedan that had been parked around the corner and entered the passenger side of the car. The car fled west on Santa Rita Avenue. The woman ran back to her home in the area and called police.

The duo was described as teenage boys who were both about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and wore face coverings. One wore a red hooded sweatshirt with white lettering; the other wore a black hooded sweatshirt. She did not see the driver of the getaway vehicle.

Police are actively investigating both robberies and whether they are connected. As of late Tuesday morning, detectives have no evidence directly linking the two cases and suspect they are not related.

Anyone with information is asked to call Palo Alto Police 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.

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Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Police investigate two street robberies in 15 hours

Thieves accost man in early morning hours; others steal cellphone from woman's hand

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Mar 15, 2022, 2:06 pm

Palo Alto police are investigating two robberies involving pedestrians that occurred within 15 hours of one another, they said in statements released Tuesday.

At 1 a.m. on March 15, a man in his 30s was robbed in the 300 block of University Avenue by two men who approached him while he was walking. The men told him to empty his pockets. One of the men lifted his sweatshirt to display a black handgun in the waistband of his pants.

The man gave them the contents of his pockets and backpack. One of the men took the man's laptop out of the backpack, but returned it after the victim said it was a "work" laptop. The other man took the pedestrian's cellphone but returned it after his partner told him not to take it. The duo kept two of the man's credit cards and walked east on University Avenue, according to police.

Arriving officers were not able to locate the two men. They were both wearing hooded sweatshirts and face coverings. One was about 5 feet, 10 inches tall; the other was about 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

Police are investigating another robbery that occurred 15 hours earlier at about 9:40 a.m. on March 14. In this case, two men ran past a woman in her 40s walking on a sidewalk in the 2000 block of Webster Street and stole a cellphone out of her hand.

The woman told police she was talking on her cellphone when she noticed two males walking behind her for a couple of minutes. She then heard them running toward her, and one of the men grabbed her phone as they passed her. They ran across the street to a white four-door sedan that had been parked around the corner and entered the passenger side of the car. The car fled west on Santa Rita Avenue. The woman ran back to her home in the area and called police.

The duo was described as teenage boys who were both about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and wore face coverings. One wore a red hooded sweatshirt with white lettering; the other wore a black hooded sweatshirt. She did not see the driver of the getaway vehicle.

Police are actively investigating both robberies and whether they are connected. As of late Tuesday morning, detectives have no evidence directly linking the two cases and suspect they are not related.

Anyone with information is asked to call Palo Alto Police 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.

Comments

John
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 16, 2022 at 6:29 am
John, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 6:29 am

I worry that if these criminals resist arrest and are hurt during apprehension, their inevitable cash settlements with the city will be reported on as yet another sign of a police department in need of reform.


Barron Parker Too
Registered user
Barron Park
on Mar 16, 2022 at 11:46 am
Barron Parker Too, Barron Park
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 11:46 am

@John

You have identified an interesting business model. Go for the deep pockets of Palo Alto. After you're arrested, go to a lawyer who specializes in suing police in Palo Alto and get a 6-figure settlement. This will also help activists on Palo Alto's Human Rights Commission bolster their demands for yet more police oversight. And if the criminal is not white, the ACLU can jump in with charges of "systemic racism" going back to the 1930s, as they did with Foothills Preserve.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2022 at 1:24 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2022 at 1:24 pm

These brazen criminal acts are more prolific than ever before. It is another breakdown of societal norms. A generation with poor parenting, poor discipline and poor adult mentors enables an attitude of poor social behavior.

Back in the day, a child feared getting caught for misdeeds, from school, from parents and even from the local police officer. Now it seems to me that society wants to make excuses for bad behavior, calling the miscreants victims rather than thieves or whatever.

It is time for some old fashioned discipline in the home and in the school.


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