News

Moments after armed robbery, witness springs into action by leading police to getaway car

Officers arrest three people allegedly found with stolen cash, handgun, drugs

Three people wanted in connection with an armed robbery at a gas station on Sunday night were located by police with the help of a witness, who followed the trio's getaway car from south Palo Alto to the north side of town, police said Monday.

The armed robbery at the Arco gas station at 699 San Antonio Road, not far from the city border with Mountain View, was reported around 8:40 p.m., according to the press release. Dispatchers were told a man entered the gas station's store, aimed a handgun at the cashier and demanded money.

The cashier, a man in his 40s, followed through with the order out of fear for his life, police said. After he opened the register, the alleged robber took an undisclosed amount of money, fled out of the store and entered the car.

The cashier was not injured during the robbery, according to police.

A witness who went inside the gas station store moments after the robbery learned about the theft and quickly left in search of the trio. She located a vehicle that matched the provided getaway car description leaving the gas station and called 911, the press release states.

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She followed the trio while giving updates to dispatchers on their location, according to police. Officers stopped the getaway vehicle in the area of Alma Street and Palo Alto Avenue, not far from El Camino Park, and arrested three adults without incident.

The three alleged robbers were found with stolen cash in the car, plus drugs and drug paraphernalia in one of their bags. Officers also retrieved an unsecured handgun that was loaded and within reaching distance of an elementary school-aged child who was sitting next to a teenager, according to the press release. The firearm, stolen out of Salinas, was on the vehicle's rear floorboard.

The child was released to relatives with assistance from the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services and the teen was brought to a youth shelter, police said.

Officers arrested a 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, both from Salinas, who allegedly took turns driving the getaway vehicle away from the gas station. They also took into custody a 19-year-old Los Banos man, who officers suspect carried the weapon. In addition, they were each arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime and child endangerment.

The two men were also arrested for alleged possession of a stolen firearm, which is a felony, police said. The woman is also suspected of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine, both misdemeanors.

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Anyone with information about Sunday's armed robbery is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.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.

Editor's note: The Weekly's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the District Attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. See our guidelines here.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Moments after armed robbery, witness springs into action by leading police to getaway car

Officers arrest three people allegedly found with stolen cash, handgun, drugs

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 9:13 pm

Three people wanted in connection with an armed robbery at a gas station on Sunday night were located by police with the help of a witness, who followed the trio's getaway car from south Palo Alto to the north side of town, police said Monday.

The armed robbery at the Arco gas station at 699 San Antonio Road, not far from the city border with Mountain View, was reported around 8:40 p.m., according to the press release. Dispatchers were told a man entered the gas station's store, aimed a handgun at the cashier and demanded money.

The cashier, a man in his 40s, followed through with the order out of fear for his life, police said. After he opened the register, the alleged robber took an undisclosed amount of money, fled out of the store and entered the car.

The cashier was not injured during the robbery, according to police.

A witness who went inside the gas station store moments after the robbery learned about the theft and quickly left in search of the trio. She located a vehicle that matched the provided getaway car description leaving the gas station and called 911, the press release states.

She followed the trio while giving updates to dispatchers on their location, according to police. Officers stopped the getaway vehicle in the area of Alma Street and Palo Alto Avenue, not far from El Camino Park, and arrested three adults without incident.

The three alleged robbers were found with stolen cash in the car, plus drugs and drug paraphernalia in one of their bags. Officers also retrieved an unsecured handgun that was loaded and within reaching distance of an elementary school-aged child who was sitting next to a teenager, according to the press release. The firearm, stolen out of Salinas, was on the vehicle's rear floorboard.

The child was released to relatives with assistance from the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services and the teen was brought to a youth shelter, police said.

Officers arrested a 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, both from Salinas, who allegedly took turns driving the getaway vehicle away from the gas station. They also took into custody a 19-year-old Los Banos man, who officers suspect carried the weapon. In addition, they were each arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime and child endangerment.

The two men were also arrested for alleged possession of a stolen firearm, which is a felony, police said. The woman is also suspected of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine, both misdemeanors.

Anyone with information about Sunday's armed robbery is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.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.

Editor's note: The Weekly's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the District Attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. See our guidelines here.

Comments

resident
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm
resident, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm
14 people like this

Very very brave for a witness to chase after armed robbers. I am surprised that the police dispatcher encouraged her to continue this pursuit.


Reality Check
another community
on Mar 31, 2020 at 5:21 am
Reality Check, another community
on Mar 31, 2020 at 5:21 am
21 people like this

Another Palo Alto paper has published the names and photos of the arrested adult suspects in this case on their website,


musical
Palo Verde
on Mar 31, 2020 at 7:08 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Mar 31, 2020 at 7:08 am
11 people like this

... or you can just click the PAPD nixle "press release" indicated in the story.


Nayeli
Midtown
on Mar 31, 2020 at 9:15 am
Nayeli, Midtown
on Mar 31, 2020 at 9:15 am
18 people like this

Well done, brave witness! Well done, PAPD!


Richard H.
Green Acres
on Mar 31, 2020 at 3:51 pm
Richard H., Green Acres
on Mar 31, 2020 at 3:51 pm
2 people like this

Huge thanks to the witness for her remarkable bravery. So relieved nobody was physically injured and that these criminals are off the streets.


Downfall
Fairmeadow
on Mar 31, 2020 at 9:51 pm
Downfall, Fairmeadow
on Mar 31, 2020 at 9:51 pm
4 people like this

I hope if these 3 are found guilty and sentenced they are given the absolute maximum sentence for each crime they are found guilty of. There is a special place in hell for people who commit crimes like these in the midst of a global pandemic.


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