Two people attempted to rob an elderly Palo Alto woman of her wedding ring on Saturday afternoon, causing her injuries, Palo Alto police said in a press release.
The woman, who is in her 80s and was using a walker, was in the 700 block of Channing Avenue at about 4:15 p.m. when a large, black four-door sedan pulled up beside her. A female passenger asked the woman for directions to a grocery store before getting out of the car to continue the conversation. She told the victim that she resembled her mother and wanted to give her a piece of her mother’s jewelry. The woman took the victim’s hand off the walker and slipped a bracelet onto her wrist.
The woman then tried to pull the victim's wedding ring off her finger, but it would not easily come off, even when she pulled hard. The woman got back into the car, driven by a man, and they fled eastbound on Channing Avenue at a high rate of speed.
The victim suffered minor physical injuries. Because she didn't have a cell phone with her, she continued on her walk and later told a family member about the incident. The family member called the police.
Two of the victim's fingers were bruised during the attempted robbery. She described the woman as an adult with dark black hair in a bun and about 5 feet, 4 inches tall. She had a medium complexion.
The driver was a man with dark hair and a dark mustache. There have been no similar cases recently in Palo Alto, police said. In October 2021, however, a similar roadside scam occurred during which two necklaces were stolen from an elderly female victim's neck. The October case remains unsolved, with no suspects identified.
Detectives are investigating to see if there is any connection between the two cases, or any other similar crimes in other cities.
Police recommend to always remain aware of one's surroundings and to be cautious if approached by the occupants of an unfamiliar vehicle. Maintain a safe distance from any unfamiliar, unoccupied vehicle, they said. They ask that victims or witnesses promptly report suspicious behavior or crimes to the police by calling the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413, or 911 if it is an emergency.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the dispatch center. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.