News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Late-Night Armed Robbery of Pedestrian Occurs Downtown
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Sketch of Suspect
Palo Alto, CA -- A suspect armed with a handgun robbed a man of his cell phone and wallet near City Hall at about 1:15 a.m. this morning.  The victim was not injured and the suspect is at large.

On Monday, July 14, 2014, at about 1:27 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of an armed robbery that had occurred within the past 10 minutes in the 200 block of Hamilton Avenue.  The victim, a man in his forties, had gone to an open business in the 400 block of Emerson Street in order to call police.  Officers checked the area but were unable to locate the suspect.

The investigation revealed that the man had been walking eastbound on the north sidewalk of the 200 block of Hamilton Avenue when he was approached from behind by the suspect.  The suspect called out to the victim and demanded his cell phone and wallet.  When the victim turned around, he saw that the suspect was holding a black semi-automatic handgun.  The suspect had the weapon pointed at the ground, and pulled back the slide on the gun as if to load a round when the victim did not immediately comply with the demand.  The victim then handed over his cell phone and wallet, and the suspect ordered the victim to walk away eastbound on Hamilton Avenue.  When the victim eventually looked back to see if he could still see the robber, the suspect was gone.

The victim described the suspect as an unknown race light-skinned male, about 30 years old.  He was 5 feet 10 inches tall, and about 175 pounds with a medium build.  He was wearing a dark-colored beanie, a dark long-sleeve shirt, and dark pants.  He was also wearing dark sunglasses at the time of the crime.  The victim did not see or hear a vehicle associated with the suspect.  A police artist met with the victim and produced the attached sketch of the suspect.

Detectives are actively investigating this case, which is the first armed robbery in Palo Alto in more than three months.  The Menlo Park Police Department investigated a similar armed robbery at about 6:40 p.m. on Sunday, July 13, 2014, on Gilbert Avenue near Pope Street (less than two miles from this robbery).  In that case, a white male suspect dressed in manner similar to our suspect, and also armed with a semi-automatic pistol, robbed two teens of their cell phones and wallets.  Detectives from the two agencies are collaborating on the cases to determine if the same suspect is responsible.  For more information about the Menlo Park case, contact Nicole Acker of the Menlo Park Police Department at 650-330-6325.

Anyone with information about the Palo Alto robbery is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to 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 or