A man in his 20s who Palo Alto police say attempted to steal a woman's cellphone got more than he bargained for Saturday night.
The woman was out walking her small dog in Pardee Park, 851 Center Dr., at about 9:20 p.m. when she noticed a man standing near the park's playground in the southwest corner, according to a police press release.
Though she had been texting on her phone, she put it in her jacket pocket and continued walking on the footpath. The man started following her, so she stepped off the footpath to let him pass, she told police.
But instead of walking past, the man grabbed the woman around the neck and shoulders and threw her to the ground. He reached into her pocket to take her phone, and when she began to scream, he placed his hand over her mouth, she told police.
That's when the woman and her dog fought back: She bit down on the man's hand and the dog began biting his legs.
Giving up on the robbery attempt, the man -– described as Hispanic, clean-shaven, with a medium build and about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-10-inches tall -- ran.
He wore a dark baseball hat, a dark, hooded sweatshirt and pants of an unknown color, according to the woman, who was uninjured in the incident.
Police detectives are actively investigating the case and are trying to determine if it may be connected to any other robbery attempts in Palo Alto or surrounding communities, the department stated.
Anyone with information about Saturday's incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.