News Digest | October 28, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 28, 2011

News Digest

Armed man sought following downtown robbery

A woman walking home from downtown Palo Alto was robbed of her purse at gunpoint a week ago Thursday (Oct. 20) night, police said.

The woman was walking in the 300 block of Ramona Street when a lone gunman approached her and a friend from behind around 11 p.m. The suspect showed a small handgun and demanded the woman's purse, police said.

The woman complied and the suspect fled in a car. The car was parked a short distance away with a lone driver inside. Police described the vehicle as a light-colored late 1980s or early '90s Chevy two-door sedan. It was last seen driving northbound on Ramona.

Police canvassed the area for the suspect and vehicle but were unable to locate either.

No injuries were reported during the robbery.

The suspect is described as approximately 25 years old, thin, about 5-foot-7-inches tall, with a medium-dark complexion, thin mustache and hair under his chin, dark hair and dark brown eyes. He was wearing a dark navy blue hoodie.

The robber's racial identity has not been determined, Sgt. Brian Philip said Saturday.

The police are asking anyone with information about the purse robber to call the department at 650-329-2413.

Anonymous tips can be emailed to Anonymous voicemails and texts can be sent to 650-383-8984.

Paver hit by truck in Fry's parking lot, dies

A paver working in the parking lot of Fry's Electronics at 340 Portage Ave. in Palo Alto Tuesday evening (Oct. 25) was struck and killed by a semi truck that was backing up, a spokesperson for CAL/OSHA said Wednesday.

The Santa Clara County Coroner identified the victim as Richard Loza, 64, of Pittsburg.

Palo Alto police received a 911 call at 6:46 p.m. about a traffic collision in the parking lot, according to a department press release.

When police and fire personnel arrived they found Loza, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

"A representative of CAL/OSHA was contacted due to the industrial nature of the accident, and they took over the investigation into the incident," the police stated in the release.

Initial findings indicate that Loza, a paver for G&S Paving based out of Oakley, Calif., was hit by the truck as crews were cleaning and preparing to leave the site, according to CAL/OSHA Public Information Officer Patricia Ortiz.

The driver was backing up when "he heard an odd noise," Ortiz said. Upon exiting the truck, the driver discovered Loza beneath the wheels of the truck, she said.

A Palo Alto excavation permit was issued to American Integrated Services on Sept. 30 for excavation of an underground tank at the site, according to Mike Nafziger, City of Palo Alto Public Works engineer. Storage-tank excavation is common around the city when old septic, gas or oil tanks that have long been retired and forgotten are found, he said.

G&S Paving is a sub-contractor to general contractor American Integrated Services, Ortiz said. The involvement of a sub-contractor makes this a "multi-employer investigation," she said. Ortiz said CAL/OSHA has issued an order prohibiting further use of the vehicle until the investigation is completed.

CAL/OSHA will investigate whether there was a functioning back-up alarm on the truck and whether there was proper traffic control in place at the time of the fatality, among other factors, Ortiz said.

A full investigation into the incident is ongoing and could take up to 6 months to complete, she said.

Tenants sought for San Antonio parcel

The Palo Alto school district will seek tenants for property the district plans to acquire at 525 San Antonio Road. The $8.5 million acquisition of the old Peninsula Day Care site is scheduled to close Nov. 1.

Superintendent Kevin Skelly said it's likely to be at least two years before the district is ready to build on the property. At a meeting Tuesday night, school board members endorsed the idea of leasing the site in the interim.

Used in the past as both a church and a day care center, the 2.6-acre property contains a chapel room, a large multi-purpose room, classrooms and children's play areas.

The parcel abuts the school district's Greendell campus, which is contiguous with the district-owned Cubberley Community Center.

— Chris Kenrick


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