News

Alleged robber causes scare with replica handgun at Stanford Shopping Center

Police tie realistic-looking weapon to shoplifting in Menlo Park

Palo Alto police arrested a man who reportedly had a gun, later determined to be a replica handgun, at Stanford Shopping Center on Oct. 10. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

A man who reportedly had a gun at Stanford Shopping Center was arrested by Palo Alto police in connection with a robbery on Saturday, police said in a press release on Thursday.

At about 6:40 p.m., officers responded to a call by security personnel at the shopping center, located at 180 El Camino Real, where they were attempting to keep a 39-year-old man who appeared to be armed under observation.

Police located the man, who was still holding what looked like a semi-automatic handgun. He quickly complied with commands to drop the weapon and police took him safely into custody, according to the release.

The weapon was a realistic-looking replica handgun. Officers found a second replica gun, still in its original packaging, in the man's belongings, police said. A credit card, prescription medication and personal documents belonging to others were also found in his possession.

The man had entered the Timberland store and attempted to pay for $600 in merchandise with a credit card. After the transaction was declined multiple times, the man became increasingly disruptive to the point that an employee called security personnel for assistance, police said. He allegedly removed the replica handgun from his waistband, brandished it at employees and left the store with the merchandise without paying, police said.

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As he left, he allegedly yelled back inside to the employees that he would shoot them in their heads. The three employees inside the store at the time — a man in his 30s, and a man and a woman both in their late teens — feared for their lives, police said. Security personnel responding to the call for help observed the man brandish the handgun at the employees and threaten to shoot them.

An investigation found that the man had tried to purchase the two replica handguns with a credit card earlier in the day at Big 5 Sporting Goods, located at 700 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. When the transaction was declined multiple times, he allegedly stole the replica handguns and fled, the release states. The Menlo Park Police Department investigated the theft as shoplifting.

Police booked the man, who has no permanent address, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for robbery and criminal threats, both felonies, and for possession of stolen property and possession of medication without a prescription, which are misdemeanors.

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 [email protected] 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.

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Alleged robber causes scare with replica handgun at Stanford Shopping Center

Police tie realistic-looking weapon to shoplifting in Menlo Park

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 6:25 pm

A man who reportedly had a gun at Stanford Shopping Center was arrested by Palo Alto police in connection with a robbery on Saturday, police said in a press release on Thursday.

At about 6:40 p.m., officers responded to a call by security personnel at the shopping center, located at 180 El Camino Real, where they were attempting to keep a 39-year-old man who appeared to be armed under observation.

Police located the man, who was still holding what looked like a semi-automatic handgun. He quickly complied with commands to drop the weapon and police took him safely into custody, according to the release.

The weapon was a realistic-looking replica handgun. Officers found a second replica gun, still in its original packaging, in the man's belongings, police said. A credit card, prescription medication and personal documents belonging to others were also found in his possession.

The man had entered the Timberland store and attempted to pay for $600 in merchandise with a credit card. After the transaction was declined multiple times, the man became increasingly disruptive to the point that an employee called security personnel for assistance, police said. He allegedly removed the replica handgun from his waistband, brandished it at employees and left the store with the merchandise without paying, police said.

As he left, he allegedly yelled back inside to the employees that he would shoot them in their heads. The three employees inside the store at the time — a man in his 30s, and a man and a woman both in their late teens — feared for their lives, police said. Security personnel responding to the call for help observed the man brandish the handgun at the employees and threaten to shoot them.

An investigation found that the man had tried to purchase the two replica handguns with a credit card earlier in the day at Big 5 Sporting Goods, located at 700 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. When the transaction was declined multiple times, he allegedly stole the replica handguns and fled, the release states. The Menlo Park Police Department investigated the theft as shoplifting.

Police booked the man, who has no permanent address, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for robbery and criminal threats, both felonies, and for possession of stolen property and possession of medication without a prescription, which are misdemeanors.

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 [email protected] 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

eric smith
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2020 at 2:48 am
eric smith, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 2:48 am
25 people like this

I'm sure defunding the police and counseling the person not to be so aggressive would have prevented people's lives from being threatened next time.


Tommy
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2020 at 7:53 am
Tommy, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 7:53 am
7 people like this

Police reform. Police Reform...


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 16, 2020 at 8:06 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 8:06 am
13 people like this

Excuse me commenters - you all just moved responsibility for an illegal action from the person who did it to the police and the city.

These people get their counseling while in lock-up - from other felons. They trade tips and guidance on how to avoid being charged with a crime. And now you all are aiding and abetting the lack of authority of the police to keep this type of activity out of our major public places. Are these your relatives? Every time some one gets into trouble it is the police's fault?

No - that is exactly what is promoting this type of action in this city and elsewhere - it is trying to reduce the police authority in this city and other cities. And "counseling" - who is paying for that?


Ardan Michael Blum
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2020 at 8:27 am
Ardan Michael Blum, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 8:27 am
7 people like this

[Post removed.]


Tommy
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:08 am
Tommy, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:08 am
9 people like this

Don't forget to vote guys. Have a awesome weekend. VOTE


Bud Green
Registered user
Green Acres
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:00 am
Bud Green, Green Acres
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:00 am
15 people like this

I'm looking for a way this can be blamed on white supremacists. That seems to be the obsession of the moment.


Chris
Registered user
another community
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:44 am
Chris, another community
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:44 am
9 people like this

Why does Big 5 sell replica semi-automatic handguns? Are they intended to be toys? If it isn't legal to carry a real version of these guns, why can replicas be bought in a sporting goods store? I'm not asking to raise any sort of gun control debate. I'm just curious from a public safety standpoint, as illustrated by the incident at the shopping center.


AlexDeLarge
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:13 pm
AlexDeLarge, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:13 pm
1 person likes this

@ eric smith Well, I assume you're being rather sarcastic. Good on you, if so...


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