On Wednesday, Aug. 29, at about 12:13 p.m., a woman in her 30s was walking in the parking lot of Stanford Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real when the man grabbed one of her breasts, Palo Alto police stated in a press release.
The woman was on the sidewalk of Orchard Lane between Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. The unknown man stepped out in front of her from between two parked cars and grabbed her breast over her clothing. The man then ran away and was last seen in a parking lot along Welch Road, police said.
The victim immediately called 9-1-1 from her cell phone. Officers and detectives from the Palo Alto Police Department, assisted by deputies from the Stanford Department of Public Safety, conducted an extensive search but could not find the man. The victim was not injured, police said.
The assailant was wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt with the hood up over his head. The victim said he was about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build.
A similar sexual battery was reported Aug. 20 on Fulton Street. The victim, a woman in her 20s, was standing next to her vehicle and taking out her car keys when she was grabbed from behind. The man reached under her dress and grabbed her buttocks. He ran east on Hamilton Avenue, police said.
Detectives are investigating the cases and believe the same man might be responsible for both crimes. Patrol officers and plainclothes detectives are on the lookout for the man, police said.
Palo Alto police have listed a series of personal safety and crime-prevention tips on the City of Palo Alto website at cityofpaloalto.org/StopCrime.
The department urges awareness and reporting suspicious behavior immediately by calling 9-1-1.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.