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


Subject :

Late-Night Robbery Reported in Downtown
Contact : Marianna Villaescusa, Agent, Police Department    650-329-2413
Surveillance image of suspect (in white cap)
Palo Alto, CA -- A suspect who made the acquaintance of his victim at a convenience store robbed the man a short time later in downtown Palo Alto at about 11:30 p.m. last night.  The victim was not injured and the suspect is at large.

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at about 11:39 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a robbery that had occurred within the past five minutes in the 300 block of University Avenue.  The caller was a witness.  Officers responded immediately to check the area, but were not able to locate the suspect.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his sixties, had been at a convenience store in the 400 block of Waverley Street.  The suspect, who was previously unknown to the victim, struck up a conversation with the victim outside the store.  After talking for a few minutes, they agreed to go buy a cup of coffee together.  Once they were in the 300 block of University Avenue on the sidewalk, the victim told police he took his wallet out to get money, and the suspect promptly snatched it out of his hands.  The victim told police the suspect had also pepper sprayed him in the face contemporaneously to the theft, and the suspect then ran away northbound on Waverley Street.  As he left, the victim told police he saw something shiny in one of the suspect's hands and believed it could have been a knife, but he was not sure.

A witness in the 300 block of University Avenue saw the suspect with the victim, and saw the victim getting up off the sidewalk as the suspect ran away.  The witness went to the victim’s aid and called police after the victim said he had just been robbed.  It is unknown how the victim wound up on the ground; the victim did not report being struck or pushed by the suspect.

The victim was not injured, nor did he show any signs of exposure to pepper spray.  Officers did not locate any evidence of discharged pepper spray in the area of the crime.

Officers canvassing the area located surveillance camera footage from outside the convenience store showing the two men together shortly before the robbery.  The suspect is a black male, between his twenties and forties, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, wearing all black clothing and a white watch cap.  He was unshaven.  A surveillance image is attached to this release.  The victim is the other man pictured in the image, and he just happens to be bending over at the time the image was captured.  No crime occurred outside the convenience store, and no crime is occurring in the image.  No sketch of the suspect will be forthcoming.

Detectives do not believe this incident is connected to the armed robbery that occurred in the 200 block of Hamilton Avenue in the early morning hours of July 14, 2014.  In that case, an unknown race light-skinned male used a handgun to rob a pedestrian of his cell phone and wallet at about 1:15 a.m.

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 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