Police Investigate Roadside Jewelry Robbery Attempt of Elderly Victim

Published on May 16, 2022

Palo Alto, CA Police are investigating an attempted robbery case from Saturday afternoon where a suspect attempted to forcibly remove a ring from the finger of an elderly woman out for a walk.  The attempt was unsuccessful.  The victim sustained minor physical injuries, and the suspects are at large.

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, at about 7:57 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a strong-arm robbery that had occurred at about 4:15 p.m. near Channing Avenue and Middlefield Road.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a woman in her 80s, had been walking eastbound in the 700 block of Channing Avenue when a large, black 4-door sedan pulled up next to her and stopped.  The female passenger asked her for directions to a grocery store, and then got out of the car to continue the conversation while the male driver remained in the car.  The female suspect told the victim she resembled her own mother and wanted to give her a piece of her mother’s jewelry.  The suspect took the victim’s hand off the walker she had been using and slipped a bracelet onto the victim’s wrist.  The suspect then tried to pull the victim’s wedding ring off her finger, but it would not easily come off.  The suspect pulled hard, but the ring stayed on.  The suspect then got back into the car, and the vehicle fled eastbound on Channing Avenue at a high rate of speed.

The victim, who did not have a cell phone with her, continued on her walk and later told a family member about what happened.  That family member notified police.  The victim sustained bruising to two fingers as a result of the robbery attempt.

The victim described the primary suspect as an unknown race, unknown age female adult with a medium complexion.  She had dark black hair in a bun and was about 5 feet 4 inches tall.  The victim described the driver as a male with dark hair and a dark mustache.

There have been no similar cases recently in Palo Alto.  Back in October 2021, a similar roadside scam case occurred where an elderly female victim had two necklaces stolen off her neck.  For details on that incident, see the news release we distributed about it at the time.  Detectives are investigating to see if there is any connection between the two cases, or any other similar crimes in other cities.  That October case remains unsolved, with no suspects identified.

Police recommend that you always remain aware of your surroundings and be cautious if approached by the occupants of an unfamiliar vehicle.  Police recommend maintaining a safe distance from any unfamiliar, unoccupied vehicle.  Be aware of robbery attempts and other criminal behavior that may occur, and promptly report suspicious behavior or crimes to the police by calling our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413, or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.

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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