Three men who allegedly held up a Palo Alto 7-Eleven store last month have been arrested, the Palo Alto Police Department announced today, Nov. 12.
Joachim Piliote Maka, 23, Apolosio Piutou Tupa, 27, and Joshua N. Faoa, 24, all of East Palo Alto, were arrested after alert Redwood City police officers recognized them from a wanted bulletin. Redwood City police had just arrested the trio for a burglary, according to a Palo Alto police.
Detectives released the bulletin to multiple area police agencies while searching for three men who entered the 7-Eleven convenience store at 708 Colorado Ave. in Palo Alto on Oct. 14. The men entered the store at 2:20 a.m. and robbed the clerk at gunpoint. Two stole miscellaneous items from the store's inventory while the primary robber pointed a rifle or shotgun at the victim, a man in his 40s, and demanded money from the register. After the clerk complied, the gun-wielding suspect punched the victim in the face and took his wallet.
The suspects, who were wearing masks that obscured their faces, fled on foot and escaped. The victim sustained minor injuries to his mouth and nose from the punch, police said.
Detectives believe Maka was the man armed with the rifle or shotgun. He is on probation in San Mateo County from a prior conviction of carrying a loaded firearm in public, police said. Tupa is on probation in San Mateo County from a prior conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On Oct. 25, Redwood City police responded to a burglary in progress at Peninsula Liquors at 717 El Camino Real. They detained and arrested Maka, Tupa and Faoa near the closed liquor store. The men looked similar to the Palo Alto robbers, Redwood City officers noticed. Police booked the men into the San Mateo County Main Jail for burglary and conspiracy, and promptly notified Palo Alto detectives.
Maka and Tupa were arrested by Palo Alto police for the 7-Eleven robbery on Nov. 6 while they were still in custody at the San Mateo County Main Jail. Faoa had already been released from custody, but on Nov. 7 he surrendered at the Palo Alto Police Department after learning of the warrant for his arrest. Police booked him into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
Detectives also served search warrants on two residences in East Palo Alto, in the 700 block of Donohoe St. near the IKEA store and the 2200 block of Capitol Ave. near Bell Street. Evidence found during the searches might connect the trio to an Oct. 17, 7-Eleven armed robbery at 975 Rollins Road in Burlingame. Palo Alto detectives are working with Burlingame investigators, police said.
Palo Alto police Lt. Zach Perron lauded the collaborative effort and its result.
"This case highlights the importance of police agencies sharing information, since criminals routinely cross over jurisdictional boundaries. The officers from the Redwood City Police Department did a great job of recognizing a possible connection to our case and notifying us in a timely way. We really appreciate the help," he said.
Anyone with information about the three men is asked to call Palo Alto policed 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.