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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.