Police Arrest Suspect After Pursuit, Connect Him to Earlier Robbery

Published on February 22, 2021

Palo Alto, CA – Police arrested a 16-year-old suspect who led them on a pursuit Saturday night in a vehicle that had been carjacked at gunpoint the night before in East Palo Alto, and then learned he was the same suspect who had committed a strong-arm robbery in downtown Palo Alto on Friday night as well.

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, just before midnight, a patrol officer spotted a vehicle that had been stolen at gunpoint the prior night in East Palo Alto (the vehicle, a gray 2008 BMW 330i sedan, had been taken by two suspects in their twenties, one who whom was armed with either a rifle or a shotgun, shortly before midnight on Friday). The officer saw the vehicle was driving at a high rate of speed on East Bayshore Road, south of Embarcadero Road, and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle failed to yield and led officers on a pursuit northbound on East Bayshore Road. The vehicle stopped on Clarke Avenue in East Palo Alto, just east of East Bayshore Road, and five occupants got out and fled on foot. Officers believed they were all adults. The driver, who also matched the general description of the armed carjacking suspect, began running westbound over the pedestrian bridge with officers in foot pursuit. A Palo Alto Police Department canine apprehended the suspect on the bridge at about 12:05 a.m. on Sunday, February 21. Paramedics transported the suspect to a local hospital for treatment of bite wounds to his left arm. The other four suspects ran eastbound into East Palo Alto, and eluded capture. Police did not locate any weapons remaining inside the stolen vehicle.

An officer at the arrest scene recognized the suspect as closely matching the appearance of a strong-arm robbery suspect from downtown Palo Alto that had occurred the night before. On Friday, February 19, 2021, at about 10:18 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a strong-arm robbery that had just occurred in the 600 block of High Street. The victim, a woman in her forties, reported that as she was about to unlock the front door of her residence, an unknown male suspect came up behind her, ripped her clutch out of her hand, and fled on foot. She described the suspect as a Hispanic male in his early twenties, with black long hair. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and gray pants. The victim did not sustain any physical injuries.

Follow-up investigation revealed that a credit card belonging to the robbery victim had been used shortly after the crime at the Shell gas station on University Avenue in East Palo Alto. Officers obtained surveillance camera footage showing a suspect using the credit card. The suspect matched the description provided by the victim.

Following the arrest of the suspect after the vehicle pursuit, police conducted follow-up investigation with the strong-arm robbery victim and confirmed the suspect was the same person who had robbed her the night before. Police have not been able to locate her stolen clutch, which contained cash, credit cards, and her identification.

Police transported the suspect, a 16-year-old male from East Palo Alto, to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. Police arrested him for possession of a stolen vehicle (a felony), felony evading (for fleeing in the car), misdemeanor resisting arrest (for fleeing on foot), and robbery (a felony). In accordance with our standard release of information procedures, no additional information on the suspect is available since he is under the age of 18. We do not release booking photographs of juveniles in such situations.

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. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

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