Man wanted for punching, robbing woman with infant in Palo Alto | News | Palo Alto Online |


Man wanted for punching, robbing woman with infant in Palo Alto

Suspect sought for Sunday assault in Midtown

Palo Alto police are searching for a man who on Sunday walked up to a woman pushing an infant in a stroller, punched her in the head and took her purse before running away through the streets of Midtown.

The assault took place at about 6:30 p.m. on Middlefield Road, just north of Loma Verde Avenue, police said. Officers responded immediately after getting several calls reporting the incident but could not locate the man, according to police.

The victim, a woman in her 30s, was walking north on the east sidewalk of Middlefield and pushing her baby in a stroller, police said. When the baby started crying and she stopped to attend to the baby, she felt a tug on her purse, which she was wearing on her shoulder. Police said as she realized what was happening, the man punched her in the side of the head, ripped the purse off her shoulder and ran away. Several people saw the robbery, police said, and two witnesses chased the robber before losing sight of him as he ran east on Loma Verde.

Police said the woman suffered an abrasion to her ear and redness on the side of her head, but she declined medical attention. The baby was reportedly unharmed.

The man was described as Latino and in his 20s with a stocky build. Police said he was 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall and may have had a full beard. He was wearing jeans and a black sweatshirt with a hood pulled over a baseball hat. Police said there have not been any recent robberies in the city involving a suspect with this description.

Police are asking that anyone with information about this incident call the police department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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25 people like this
Posted by Loma Verde Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2015 at 10:10 am

What is not being reported here is that the incident happened at Philz Coffee, which has brought nothing but problems to our neighborhood: crime, Philz customers pulling abrupt U turns in our driveways, a huge increase in traffic, Philz customers parking in the bike lane and blocking our driveways etc. The traffic this Philz generates is way too much for a residential neighborhood. It'll be even worse when Bill's Cafe opens. Spoke to a PAPD cop at the scene last night and he downplayed the event...even though they hadn't caught the guy and he could have been in my yard.

24 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2015 at 10:16 am

I agree with the previous comment that Philz customers are extremely dangerous to our neighborhood, driving distracted, making illegal U-turns, and parking in the bike lanes.

23 people like this
Posted by Loma Verde Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2015 at 10:45 am

I'd like to add that I have almost been hit several times while riding my bicycle by Philz customers doing abrupt U-turns in our driveways, and my neighbor's son was hit by a car exiting onto Loma Verde from the Philz parking lot. Other neighbors have had near misses too.

14 people like this
Posted by almunday60
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2015 at 10:57 am

Its time you write and call your city council person, also the chief of police, and the paweekly....if you want to save them all at once. I am sure once the recepients sees the distribution list, but may be the catalyst needed to at least get some dialogue going

43 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood amenity or problem? Hmmmm.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

I often visit Philz on a bike. This has not been a problem for me. I view Philz as a neighborhood amenity.

Here's a question. Is the problem Philz or the behavior of careless drivers? Do we really want Philz, a successful neighborhood shop and gathering place, to leave?

PAPD, would you please do a little enforcement out here? It sounds like some of these folks have concerns. Also, it might be nice if Philz would post a sign encouraging their customers to please walk or bike if they can. Ask customers who drive to please respect the safety of other patrons and the neighborhood by driving legally and carefully, watching especially for bikes and pedestrians going to Philz, homes and nearby schools, parks community centers and stores.

Let's work together on cultivating a community culture that is mutually respectful. Let's take care of each other.

10 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

I do not go to Philz specifically because the parking lot is so tight and limited. I hate parking there. If I go to the cleaners I park down by the liquor store.
Maybe the empty store in Midtown across from Safeway would be a better place - but competition from Starbucks and PA Coffee. They need a different location with a better parking lot.

6 people like this
Posted by Berry
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:11 am

[Post removed.]

14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:16 am

I have no problem with Philz but it is the customers that need to be taught how to be respectful to the neighbors. When I see PAPD and PAFD parking in the bike path on Loma Verde I can see that we are in a no win situation. The parking lot by the liquor store is just as handy for Philz and does have some mixed use spots.

Get this done by giving tickets to poor parkers now before Bills opens.

When we have Bills and Philz we are going to have problems more than just parking.

28 people like this
Posted by Just saying
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:23 am

Bills + Philz = a lot of Ills

14 people like this
Posted by Does the barista park cars?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:30 am

The problem, as usual, is with entitled people in cars breaking the traffic laws.
There is no other problem besides that. Philz Coffee, Philz Bookshop, Philz Meditation doesn't matter what business the customers are going to, it matters that they are acting with entitlement and breaking the laws.

Lets not be afraid to point blame where it belongs. These same Philz customers are likely acting the same way everywhere they go. The problem, once again, sits squarely with PA people in their cars.

28 people like this
Posted by Just Passing Through
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:41 am

Poor drivers are an issue for sure. However, to me, it is even more concerning that someone would so brazenly be attacked and robbed right there on or near the corner of Loma Verde and Middlefield.

85 people like this
Posted by Whaaaa
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm

A woman caring for an infant gets bashed in the head and the only concerns that come forth are about traffic, driveways and blocked bike lanes? It's more than a stretch to blame this brazen and violent crime on a coffee shop. Are you saying Philz is putting something in their drinks that brings about sociopathic behavior? Otherwise I don't get the connection here.

16 people like this
Posted by The Issues
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2015 at 12:13 pm

The problem is that Philz picked a bad location for a good coffee shop. Bill's Cafe, when it opens, will make a bad situation worse, since that is an even worse location for a restaurant.

Since the outdoor seating that Philz customers have been usin actually belongs to the restaurant, this will be an interesting situation when the restaurant finally opens.

Philz outgrew its location a long time ago, and needs to find a new one ASAP!

The other issue here is with all the people who linger over one cup of coffee for HOURS at Philz! Some seem to have nothing to do all day. This is also evident at the Forest Ave location, which has similar problems with cars, parking, and an increase in crime. Places with limited parking, tight parking, nearby residences with children are not good fits for businesses that generate a lot of traffic....The two Philz locations in Los Gatos donor have these problems, since they are in actual bona fide shopping centers with ample parking.

The city needs to get together with Philz management and either work out a solution or help them find a more suitable location.

18 people like this
Posted by JMD
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2015 at 6:30 pm

JMD is a registered user.

I was a witness to this brazen crime from across the steet. I tried rushing to the man running, till I saw a biker and a lady in car chase him. What is more shocking is the people on tables few feet away did not notice her scream and did not even try to chase the man who was not so fast and could easily have been caught if we were vigilant. It bothers me a lot that in spite of so many witness's he got away in broad daylight. Thanks to Philz Coffee there were so many people . I dread to think what would have happened on a quieter street a little later in the day.

16 people like this
Posted by Not Grouchy
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:31 pm

Not Grouchy is a registered user.

Not a Philz problem. I would concentrate on the rise in crime in general in Palo Alto. Residents should report suspicious strangers. Let's talk about politeness. It's called greeting and speaking with your neighbors, so you know who belongs and who is up to no good. Report all the cars that speed on our streets and threaten our elderly and children. My response is to look for this guy and report him, not moan about Philz coffee, which has become a treasured part of Midtown and has many charms but is not overflowing in character.

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