Man tackles teen who allegedly stole his phone, gets punched in the face | News | Palo Alto Online |


Man tackles teen who allegedly stole his phone, gets punched in the face

Brazen downtown Palo Alto robbery leads to arrest of 3 teens

A man walking in Palo Alto's Downtown North neighborhood was accosted by three teenage boys, who stole his cellphone and punched him in the face on Tuesday, but they didn't get far. Officers caught up with the bicycling teens and arrested them, according to police.

The man, who is in his 20s, was walking east on Lytton Avenue near Tasso Street, a block away from University Avenue, around 12:30 p.m. when he passed three teens riding bicycles. One of the teens tapped him on the back while another allegedly grabbed his phone out of his hand, police said in a press release.

As the boys began to ride away, the man tackled the teen who allegedly stole the phone. One of the boys allegedly punched the man in the face and another demanded the man's earbud headphones, according to police.

The man's co-worker who was nearby heard the commotion and came to his aid. The teens fled on their bicycles south on Tasso. When police responded to the call regarding the incident at 12:34 p.m., they found the man suffering from minor pain to his face, police said. He declined medical attention, police said.

About 40 minutes after the robbery, a police sergeant spotted three people matching the description of the boys and detained them in the 1400 block of Edgewood Drive, about a mile and a half away from the robbery and near the city border with East Palo Alto. Officers located the man's stolen phone in the backpack of one of the boys and returned the device to the victim. They arrested and booked the trio, all 15 years old, into Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of robbery.

Two of the boys are from East Palo Alto and the third is from Menlo Park. Their names and booking photos will not be released because they are juveniles, police said.

Detectives are investigating whether the teens are responsible for other similar crimes in the city. Anyone with information about Tuesday's strong-arm robbery 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's free mobile app, downloadable at or


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25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2020 at 6:14 pm

Thank you to the PAPD for catching these teens so quickly. I hope the man recovers quickly.

The really awful, sad, thing about this is that 3 15 year olds did this. 15 year olds are little more than children. 15 year olds who think that it is OK to grab something that doesn't belong to them and to punch the person trying to defend his property. 15 year olds who do not know the difference between right and wrong.

What is happening that some are growing up to believe that they can do this? How are we failing our young people? How can we do a better job of mentoring young people? What are the parents teaching these kids? Where are the fathers? How can we turn this mindset around? These teens are going to be released to their parents. Can the parents be trusted to teach these kids what they have done is wrong and not to do it again?

27 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2020 at 7:29 pm

12:30 on a Tuesday this crime happened. Don’t these 15 years old attend school?

5 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 28, 2020 at 9:50 pm

I thought the same thing, but maybe they have an open campus. I oppose open high school campuses.

5 people like this
Posted by Trigz
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2020 at 9:59 pm

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Nyorket
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 28, 2020 at 10:06 pm

[Post removed.]

2 people like this
Posted by Lazlo
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:29 am

[Post removed.]

2 people like this
Posted by Lazlo
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:33 am

[Post removed.]

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