Police Investigate Strong-Arm Robbery of Cell Phone

Published on January 23, 2023

Palo Alto, CA A suspect demanded the cell phone of a woman walking on El Camino Real last night and threatened to harm her.  The victim ran away and dropped the cell phone.  The victim was not physically injured, and the suspect is at large.

On Sunday, January 22, 2023, at about 9:11 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from an employee at the Sheraton Hotel at 625 El Camino Real reporting that they were with a victim of a cell phone theft.  Officers responded and met with the victim, a woman in her forties.

The investigation revealed that the victim had been walking southbound on El Camino Real near University Avenue.  The suspect approached the victim and asked to use her phone.  The victim declined and tried to walk away, at which point the suspect threatened to beat her to death.  The victim ran away, intentionally dropping the phone, and went to the hotel for help.  Police could not locate the phone and presume the suspect picked it up.

The victim described the suspect as a Black male adult of unknown age, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with short dreadlocks.  The victim said the suspect was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and had a dark blue backpack.

Detectives are investigating this incident, including exploring if there is any possible connection to an assault that occurred on Saturday afternoon at the train station nearby at 95 University Avenue.  For details of that incident, read the news release we distributed earlier this evening here.

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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