Road rage turns into armed robbery outside Stanford Shopping Center | News | Palo Alto Online |


Road rage turns into armed robbery outside Stanford Shopping Center

Sedan driver makes threats while holding handgun, takes man’s cellphone

A road rage incident between two drivers fueled armed robbery in which one them stole the other's cellphone at the Stanford Shopping Center parking lot in Palo Alto on Thursday morning, police said.

The incident was reported to police around 9:15 a.m. as a man armed with a gun at the mall located at 180 El Camino Real, police said in a news release.

Two male drivers first crossed paths while driving north on Arboretum Road, where they shouted at each other while behind the wheel, police said. One of the drivers in a sedan threw a cup of cold coffee at the other driver through a window.

The sedan driver then stopped the vehicle, at which point a female passenger exited the car and ran away, according to police.

The targeted driver, a man in his 50s, parked at the shopping center, walked over to the sedan driver and confronted him, police said. The sedan driver, who was sitting in his car, then took out a semi-automatic handgun and made threats toward the other man, who backed away out of fear.

The armed driver headed to the other man’s car, stole his cellphone, then headed back to the sedan and drove east on Sand Hill Road, police said.

The man in his 50s was not injured during the confrontation, according to police.

The sedan driver is described as a Hispanic man in his 20s, tall and heavy set, police said. He wore a red polo shirt that had polo logo and gray pants. The vehicle is believed to be a newer model black Toyota Camry, the release stated. He hadn’t been located by authorities as of late Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police free mobile app, downloadable at or


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21 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2019 at 6:52 pm

Both drivers behaved badly. One behaved worse. I hope I never meet either of them.

8 people like this
Posted by In the heat of the moment
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Practice prudence while on the road. Drive defensively because you never know who or what might happen (or who has a gun)!

No need to be so insensitive, @resident. It can easily happen to you, so just practice prudence.

Stay safe.

22 people like this
Posted by In the heat of the moment
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2019 at 10:23 pm

Anecdote of road rage tonight near JCC/ARCO along Palo Alto/Mountain View border --

My son is a student driver, practicing for the behind-the-wheel-test.

Practicing prudence is ever true even as a new driver. A white sedan with Uber and Lyft stickers high beamed and cut my son off(in order to get in front) as my son was driving at 30 mph (rule is that it's okay to drive 5 over/under the speed limit). Uber/Lyft driver continues to use tactics to mock and escalate the situation, namely honking and waving at us while he's in front of our vehicle.

Petty and classless. Some people take apprehensions too personally while on the road.

Tip from tonight: DO NOT ENGAGE. Focus on being safe and arriving home safely.


24 people like this
Posted by B
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 19, 2019 at 5:57 am

Another recent road rage anecdote:

A guy in a mustang near San Antonio Ave kept tailgating me and honking because I apparently wasn't going fast enough for him. At red light he got out of car and punched my window yelling profanities. I just drove away but was left low-key traumatised by the road rage.

I hope police catch this m*****f*****

18 people like this
Posted by Mudtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2019 at 8:27 am

I had a similar experience on Oregon Expressway, where a guy stopped his car in the middle of traffic, then walked back to my car, which of course was blocked by his. I kept my window closed tightly and stared straight ahead as if he wasn't there...Luckily the Do Not Engage technique worked well that time around, and the guy simply got back in his car and drove away. These are scary incidents. If possible, get the license plate ... hard to think about it right after it happens, I admit.

14 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2019 at 9:30 am

If someone road rages at you, the best thing to do is memorize their license plate number, then pull over, stop, and call 911.

10 people like this
Posted by Ranch Gal
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 19, 2019 at 11:37 am

Due to many personal observations of road rage and a victim of one, I just bought a dash cam and had it installed yesterday at Sound Waves audio in San Carlos. It is a cheap answer to what can be a very serious problem.

Like this comment
Posted by deep phak
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 19, 2019 at 11:47 am

"I just bought a dash cam and had it installed"

Especially with the wide array of video editing tools available these days!

8 people like this
Posted by Billy
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Driving seems to be the top issue in this area. Proves how bad the driving is in the city. The mecca of bad driving.

5 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:57 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

I heard Jenny Odell this week on Michael Krasny's Forum Program. She was talking about her book: How to Do Nothing: resisting the attention economy. It's about spending less time on devices and more time in nature, etc. Not the first time we've heard this, of course.

But it seems to me that a lot of road rage incidents are the result of the Bay Area's culture of a constant need to be in the vanguard of everything. By this I mean cramming too many activities into our days and evenings, working very long hours because, as Jenny spoke about, people feel they must put in more and more work hours or fall behind in the "rat race".

12 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2019 at 3:58 pm

eileen is a registered user.

It seams from the article that the person in the sedan (with the gun) first threw a cup of coffee at the 50 yr old man. The older man confronted the man (with the gun) at the shopping center. That's when the younger man pulled out his gun. The BIG PROBLEM in all of this is not road rage but the fact that the 20 yr old pulled out a SEMI-AUTOMATIC GUN on the 50 yr old!

Who is this person with the gun? Palo Alto police please find him because he is a dangerous threat! And why did the woman passenger run away?

4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2019 at 7:44 pm

For some reason it has been especially bad this summer. Just today, I was tailgated by an angry Audi driver when I was in the right lane, driving the speed limit, and the left lane was open. This sort of thing has been happening frequently for the last month. Has the water supply been contaminated with steroids? What gives?

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