Police Arrest Carjacking Suspect

Published on October 13, 2020

Palo Alto, CA Police arrested a man on Sunday morning after he attempted to steal a woman’s car while she went to go get coffee.  The woman was not physically injured.

On Sunday, October 11, 2020, at about 6:36 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received several calls reporting a woman screaming for help outside of Peet’s Coffee at the Town and Country Shopping Center at 855 El Camino Real.  The first officer arrived on scene within three minutes.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a woman in her fifties, had parked her car and gotten out to walk inside Pete’s Coffee.  She had turned off the ignition but left the key in the vehicle and the door unlocked.  Before she got inside, she saw that an unknown man had climbed into the driver’s seat of her car (a 2013 BMW sports utility vehicle) and apparently intended to steal it.  She ran back to the car, opened the driver’s door, and tried to remove him from her car.  He refused.  She kicked at him and yelled for help.  A man went to help her, but the suspect threatened to kill him.  Other bystanders called the police.

When the first officer arrived on scene, the suspect was still partially inside the victim’s vehicle.  The suspect refused arrest commands and swore at the officer, demanding that the officer to back up.  The suspect then got out of the vehicle and moved towards the officer in an aggressive manner.  The officer discharged their TASER once, striking the suspect.  Officers then took the suspect into custody without further incident.  The suspect was not injured.  Pursuant to standard protocol following a TASER deployment, paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department transported the suspect to a local hospital for a medical clearance prior to incarceration.

Police booked 53-year-old William Blair Chase, a person with no permanent residence address, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for carjacking (a felony) and resisting arrest (a misdemeanor).  His booking photo is attached to this release.  The visible injury on his forehead was pre-existing; it did not result from his interaction with police.

While conducting the investigation, officers were notified by a passerby of an apparently abandoned vehicle in another part of the Town and County Shopping Center parking lot.  That vehicle, a black 1999 Mercedes C-280 sedan, had been left with its driver’s door ajar and no one around.  When officers went to investigate, they located a wallet in the back seat that contained the suspect’s driver license.  The car was not registered to the suspect.  Police were unable to reach the registered owner of the Mercedes in San Jose.  It had not been reported stolen.  Officers towed the vehicle for storage, as registration fees had not been paid in 18 months.  Police are continuing to do follow-up investigation in an effort to determine if the Mercedes had been stolen.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

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