News

Elderly women robbed at gunpoint while lunching at Stanford Shopping Center

Police release image of suspect on bicycle

Police are looking for the man on the bicycle pictured above for stealing purses from two women in an armed robbery at Stanford Shopping Center on Jan. 18, 2022. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department.

A man who pointed a handgun at two elderly women stole their purses on Tuesday afternoon at Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto police said.

The robbery, which occurred at the popular mall at 180 El Camino Real, did not result in physical injuries. The man approached the two women as they were eating lunch outside True Food Kitchen, pointed a black handgun at them and demanded for their purses, police said in a press release. The women, one who is in her 70s and the other who is in her 80s, complied, police said. The incident was reported around 2:45 p.m. and officers immediately responded.

The man was initially thought to have fired a shot into the air before fleeing the scene. The women reported hearing a "pop" or "click" noise come from the gun. Other witnesses reported seeing an orange color on the gun, including possibly at its tip. Police said it's possible the weapon was a replica handgun. Officers didn't find any projectile or damage from a projectile at the scene.

Witnesses described the robber as a Polynesian male in his late teens or early 20s who was about 6 feet tall, had short curly hair and had an average build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with red lettering, black pants, red shoes and a face covering. The man was last seen on a blue bicycle riding north toward Sand Hill Road.

As of Tuesday night, police do not believe they'll produce a sketch of the man. Investigators have released a surveillance image of the man.

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Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police 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.

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Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Elderly women robbed at gunpoint while lunching at Stanford Shopping Center

Police release image of suspect on bicycle

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 18, 2022, 11:13 pm

A man who pointed a handgun at two elderly women stole their purses on Tuesday afternoon at Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto police said.

The robbery, which occurred at the popular mall at 180 El Camino Real, did not result in physical injuries. The man approached the two women as they were eating lunch outside True Food Kitchen, pointed a black handgun at them and demanded for their purses, police said in a press release. The women, one who is in her 70s and the other who is in her 80s, complied, police said. The incident was reported around 2:45 p.m. and officers immediately responded.

The man was initially thought to have fired a shot into the air before fleeing the scene. The women reported hearing a "pop" or "click" noise come from the gun. Other witnesses reported seeing an orange color on the gun, including possibly at its tip. Police said it's possible the weapon was a replica handgun. Officers didn't find any projectile or damage from a projectile at the scene.

Witnesses described the robber as a Polynesian male in his late teens or early 20s who was about 6 feet tall, had short curly hair and had an average build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with red lettering, black pants, red shoes and a face covering. The man was last seen on a blue bicycle riding north toward Sand Hill Road.

As of Tuesday night, police do not believe they'll produce a sketch of the man. Investigators have released a surveillance image of the man.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police 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.

Comments

Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jan 19, 2022 at 8:25 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 8:25 am

What an awful experience for those women and all who witnessed the hoodlum at work. PAPD needs to do all that it can to send the message that Palo Alto is safe. If they do not, quite the opposite conclusion will be drawn. This sort of thing is all over Palo Alto. Seems to me it is time to increase police presence on University Ave, Cal Ave, and at Stanford Shopping Center. I know that's complicated, but that cannot be the last word on the matter.

Retail health is of course secondary to human safety, but if this sort of thing continues, the already faltering retail sector will suffer. People will stay home if they fear for their safety. And not being able to safely sit outside and enjoy lunch is alarming. Maybe landlords should demand more police presence. And maybe kids needs to get back in school so that they have something constructive to do all day and can be on a path to success rather than a path to prison.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2022 at 8:30 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 8:30 am

They tweeted about this yesterday as well as another tweet about an arrest of a burglar who had been disturbed by the homeowner in a house in the southgate area. Two similar crimes in the same day. Crime is definitely more apparent in Palo Alto than a year ago.


Tina
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 19, 2022 at 10:32 am
Tina, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 10:32 am

Crime in our area has increased markedly recently. I don't feel safe here like I used to. I see a comment above asking for more police presence. How can we expect more police presence when there is so much negative noise against the police in the media? I think as a whole, we need to support the police and stop pretending that this kind of thing is ok.


peppered
Registered user
Community Center
on Jan 19, 2022 at 10:40 am
peppered, Community Center
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 10:40 am

The problem is... the DA lets these guys go scot-free, doesn't even bother to charge them.
As long as that practice remains, the situation will not improve.


Lynne Henderson
Registered user
Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:37 pm
Lynne Henderson, Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:37 pm

The Daily Post also carried a story today, Jan. 19, about this terrible, broad-daylight robbery. The Post reports that a "representative" of the Simon Group, which manages the property, told a reporter to leave because the reporter was "trespassing." Excuse me? Guess Stanford Shopping Center is private property that doesn't allow free speech, so it doesn't fall within the *Pruneyard* exception allowing public access? Forgive my ignorance.
In the meantime, my heart goes out to the victims. They did the "right thing" by surrendering their purses, but how frightening! And now they face the torment of replacing the contents of their wallets. driver's licenses, etc. (I do hope they are getting assistance with all that).
As for the comment saying the DA doesn't prosecute--the writer obviously is confused about the Santa Clara County DA's office. If someone can ever establish an identification--very difficult in this case--then the DA's office will certainly prosecute the creep to the full extent of the law.
In the meantime, may the women who suffered this terrible crime get love and support from all of us--


Chris P
Registered user
Palo Alto Orchards
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:40 pm
Chris P, Palo Alto Orchards
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:40 pm

The gunman is on a custom bike made for the Facebook campus. It’s very distinctive. Many of them have hidden trackers that are powered by the front hub to track location using cell phone towers pings. Might be worth tracking……


We Are The People
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Jan 19, 2022 at 6:42 pm
We Are The People, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 6:42 pm

WOW?
That's a LOT of CRIME of Late for Palo Alto?
Does this make Palo Alto the NEW CRIME Center of the Nation?
Like a LOT of People, proclaimed East Palo Alto once upon being?
Has Palo Alto Taken the Title away from East Palo Alto? Who would have thought?

Just recently (In a EPA City Council Meeting) a concern Investor "rudely" stated this.
"If you pass the OPA Ordinance, EPA will go back into being Murder and Crime Capitol of the Nation. We saved You from "Rats & Roaches". (all on Zoom).
Of course everyone was appalled except the "Flippers, Gentrifiers & Real Estate Agents". The Love has become apparent, when East Palo Alto has now become "Per Capita" (to the rest of (some) of the Bay Area). MORE affordable, in the entire West Bay.

Can't ever remember hearing of Elderly Ladies Dining in East Palo Alto and getting Robbed? Or of any "Smash and Grabs"? Or any "Home Invasions, happening in EPA.
To witness this happening in my Life time. Palo Alto having 3 in One Day? Oh clutch my Pearls.
I wonder if those numbers are deemed "Per Capita"?
Maybe The Palo Alto Police should get pointers from East Palo Alto Police, on how to fight Crime? During all the "Grab" Crimes of the "Home Depot's" in the News.
Not ONE Incident happened to the "Home Depot" in East Palo Alto? I wonder why?

I truly feel sorry for the Elderly Women being confronted with crime in Their City.
It was good that they remained calm and complied with The Thief. I am sure that he will be brought to Justice.
This just goes to show you that the World is getting smaller We are Hearing & Finding more? The Media is opening our eyes to the fact that Crime has always been happening, all over the World.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 19, 2022 at 7:57 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 7:57 pm

Any comments from the City Manager or Police Chief?

How many years have we been asking for increased police presence and accurate police blotter crime reports for incidents we SAW and discussed complete with photos only to be told there's no one who can do the police blotter and the merchants only want the bums downtown arrested.

Shame on Stanford Shopping Center for telling the Post reporter he/she was trespassing. Good for the Post's continued push for police transparency. And Diana Diamond excellent blogs on the same subject.

Enough already.

I echo the comment above about the DA. I'm increasingly tired of reading about increasingly bad crimes committed by repeat offenders only to find the offender's already been released. Which DA candidate will stop this nonsense? An article or 3 would be special.




Observer
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jan 19, 2022 at 8:49 pm
Observer, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 8:49 pm

All the libs are crying for Police Protection now but then say DEFUNE THE POLICE and how bad the police are when it fits the narrative.

I knew this would happen as soon as the upper middle class/wealthy class started to get effected. All the sudden cries for more police.

All these liberal weirdo District Attorney's will be changing their ways when the rich liberals get effected like is happening now. MONEY TALKS!!!!

Cannot have it both ways.

This is on same page as Pelosi and all the other Dems crying for affordable housing BUT JUST NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

If I'm the police I'm thinking, WHATEVER!!!!


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