The caller also said he had tied up his children, had numerous pipe bombs and would harm police if they came to help, the police reported. But after more than a dozen officers, including trained crisis negotiators, and four Fire Department units arrived at the home in the 900 block of Emerson Street, they eventually discovered the call had been a hoax.
Initially, police surrounded the home and used a public address system to contact the residents inside. Two residents, including the man whom the caller had impersonated, exited the home. They did not know what was going on, police said.
Officers entered the house and confirmed no crime had occurred. No children were in the home, and there were no pipe bombs, police said.
The police press release did not indicate why the male resident had been targeted, but the Palo Alto Daily Post identified him as a high-profile Facebook executive.
The phone number of the hoaxer was untraceable, according to police, who are continuing to investigate the "swatting" incident, in which someone makes a false report of an emergency that draws a large police response. The perpetrator could face multiple criminal charges and potential civil liability for the city's costs related to the law-enforcement response, police said.
Anyone with information about Tuesday night's hoax 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.
Woman's kindness ends in assault, robbery
A woman was sexually assaulted and robbed by a man who asked her for spare change as she got in her car in downtown Palo Alto early Monday morning, police said.
The woman, who is in her 30s, had been walking on the south side of Everett Avenue toward Alma Street around 4:10 a.m. to her parked car. She was approached by a man who asked her for spare change, police said in a press release.
She said she did and reached into her car to look for the money when he first struck her back, then the back of her head with an unknown object, police said. He then sexually assaulted the woman, who started to scream and fought back. The man was able to reach into her jacket pocket and take her wallet before he fled on foot east on Everett and turned north on Emerson Street.
The woman drove to the police station to report the sexual assault and robbery about 10 minutes later, according to the news release. Officers searched the area but were unable to find the man.
The woman described the attacker as a white man in his late 20s to mid-30s and about 5 feet 11 inches tall with a skinny build, brown or dirty blonde long straight hair and an unkempt beard, police said. He was wearing a beanie with a pompom on top.
Monday's sexual assault is not related to two others on Dec. 29 along El Camino Real and on Dec. 20 in the Southgate neighborhood. Detectives have made arrests in those respective cases. l
Anyone with information about Monday's incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.
—Palo Alto Weekly Staff
Shooter trying to stop thief faces felonies
A Nevada man who admitted he shot at a fleeing vehicle after the occupants left the Midtown Safeway in Palo Alto on Aug. 3 said he was attempting to stop the occupants after they allegedly took several cases of expensive liquor and left without paying, according to court records. But now he faces three felonies and a misdemeanor after police tracked him down through information he left after paying for his groceries.
Christian David Poppe, 37, allegedly pulled a 9 mm pistol out of a holster hidden in his pants and fired four shots at a white Lexus SUV occupied by at least two people as they left the store parking lot at 2811 Middlefield Road.
Poppe is charged with willful discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, shooting at an inhabited dwelling or vehicle, assault with a deadly weapon or great bodily injury — all felonies — and misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon on a person. He is scheduled to appear in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto on Jan. 29 to enter a plea.
Police arrested Poppe on Aug. 8 in Danville, five days after the incident. Currently, he is out of custody on $100,000 bail.
Police have identified the driver as a prolific liquor thief who steals throughout the Bay Area and, at the time, had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest and a warrant for an undisclosed felony from Pittsburg stemming from a 2017 case. As of Jan. 3, the alleged thief has not been arrested, Palo Alto police spokeswoman Janine De la Vega said.
Poppe told police that he had never been in a situation such as this before. He said he left the scene because he was a bit scared and unsure of what to do.
He said he had made "a huge mistake."
This story contains 912 words.
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