Police Investigate Robbery Attempt and Assault in Parking Lot

Published on August 11, 2022

Palo Alto, CA Police are investigating a robbery attempt on an elderly victim yesterday in a shopping center parking lot, where the suspects then tried to back their vehicle into a Good Samaritan who had gone to help the victim.  No one sustained physical injuries, and the two suspects are at large.

On Wednesday, August 10, 2022, at about 1:14 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of in-progress robbery that had just occurred in the parking lot of the Charleston Shopping Center in the 3900 block of Middlefield Road.  Officers responded immediately, but the suspects had already fled in a vehicle.

The investigation revealed that a female suspect had approached the robbery victim, a male in his eighties, as he sat in his vehicle.  The woman told him it was her birthday and that she wanted to give him a gift.  She reached into his car and then suddenly tried to remove his watch from his wrist.  The victim fought back and yelled for help, and as a nearby Good Samaritan (a man in his forties) witnessed the struggle and went to intervene, the woman left and got into the backseat of a nearby vehicle being driven by a male suspect.  As the Good Samaritan tried to take a picture of the vehicle’s license plate, the male suspect backed the car directly at the Good Samaritan, who had to step out of the way to avoid being struck.  The suspect vehicle left southbound on Middlefield Road.

Neither the victim of the robbery attempt nor the Good Samaritan were physically injured.  The suspects were not able to steal any property from the victim of the robbery attempt.  When police are able to identify the suspects, officers will be seeking charges of attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon (both felonies).

Witnesses described the suspects as being between 25 and 35 years of age, and possibly of Middle Eastern heritage.   The female was wearing a long black skirt and a white top; the male had a black V-neck T-shirt and had a full black beard and mustache.  Witnesses described their vehicle as a black newer model Jeep Cherokee with a tinted cover over its rear license plate.  The license plate was possibly from Florida.  A surveillance image of the vehicle appears above.

In October 2021 and May 2022, there were three roadside jewelry scam cases where elderly victims were targeted for thefts.  To learn more about those incidents, read the news releases we distributed on October 25, 2021, May 16, 2022, and May 24, 2022.  Detectives are investigating to see if there is any connection between the four cases, or any other similar crimes in other cities.  At this time, there is no evidence connecting any of the incidents.  The three prior cases remain unsolved, with no suspects identified.

Police recommend that adult children and caregivers of elderly residents discuss these recent incidents with them and make them aware of the scams.  Police recommend that you always remain aware of your surroundings and be cautious if approached by a stranger or occupants of an unfamiliar vehicle.  Police recommend maintaining a safe distance from any stranger or unfamiliar, unoccupied vehicle.  Be aware of robbery attempts like these, 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.


Tagged as: