News ReleaseThe City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Police Impersonator Pulls Over Teenaged Bicyclist, Displays Weapon
Contact :Brian Philip, Detective Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Suspect sketch
Palo Alto, CA -- A juvenile male high school student was pulled over by a police impersonator, who displayed either a stun gun or a handgun while seated in his car.  After reprimanding the student for committing a traffic violation, the suspect drove away and remains at large.

On Friday, September 5, 2014, at about 9:06 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call regarding a suspicious circumstance that had taken place around 4:00 p.m. on Greer Road at Ivy Lane.  The investigation revealed that two juvenile male high school students had been riding their bicycles in the bike lane on Channing Avenue near Rhodes Drive.  They hear a voice over a public address system on a car behind them order them to ride single file instead of side-by-side.  They looked back and saw it was a car with no police markings.  Thinking it was an unmarked police car, they complied anyway.  The two students kept riding and parted ways at Greer Road.

The vehicle followed one of the students, and again used the public address system to order the student to stop.  When the student looked back, he saw flashing police-style lights emanating from inside the car.  He stopped his bicycle and the suspect drove up next to him.  The suspect remained seated in the car for the entire contact.  The suspect showed him a badge and then proceeded to angrily lecture him about his riding habits.  The suspect produced some sort of weapon, which the student described as either a stun gun or a handgun, and held it up pointed at the roof of his car so the student could see it.  The suspect then drove away.  The student rode home and later told his parents what had happened.

The student described the suspect as a while male in his sixties with balding short gray hair.  He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and had a heavy build.  He was wearing a light blue collared shirt, similar to a uniform shirt.  The badge he displayed was silver but had a color design on it, with a green tree in the center.  The suspect's vehicle was a cream-colored four-door sedan.  It had radio antennas on the roof.  The student met with a police artist, and a sketch of the suspect is attached to this release.

Detectives are investigating this incident, and are checking with other law enforcement agencies for any similar cases.  No similar cases have been reported in Palo Alto.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or