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


Subject :

Off-Duty Detective Spots Downtown Robbery Suspect, Arrest Follows
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Melroy Travenia booking photoSurveillance image from scene
Palo Alto, CA -- An off-duty detective on his way to work spotted a man who resembled the suspect in a robbery from downtown Palo Alto earlier this month.  After taking the suspect into custody for a parole violation, detectives conducted additional investigation and arrested him this afternoon for the robbery.

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at about 11:39 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a robbery that had just occurred in the 300 block of University Avenue.  The victim, a man in his sixties, had just made the acquaintance of the suspect at a convenience store in the 400 block of Waverley Street.  After they agreed to go buy a cup of coffee together, the suspect robbed the victim of his wallet two blocks away. The suspect ran away.  We distributed a news release about this incident on August 7, and released an image of the suspect obtained from a surveillance camera outside the convenience store.  The victim sustained no physical injuries.

On Friday, August 8, 2014, an off-duty detective from the Palo Alto Police Department was driving to work when he spotted a man matching the suspect's description getting on a bus on University Avenue at Bay Road in East Palo Alto.  The detective promptly called his supervisor, who coordinated with on-duty patrol officers to follow the bus.  When the bus stopped at the University Avenue train station in Palo Alto, officers detained the suspect for investigation.  Officers learned the suspect was on active parole in San Mateo County for burglary.  Officers contacted the suspect’s parole officer, who issued a parole violation. Police booked the man into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on that violation.

Over the course of the next two weeks, detectives conducted follow-up investigation into the case.  During that time, the suspect was released from custody after his parole violation expired.  On Thursday, August 21, detectives presented the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, who filed a single felony charge of robbery against the suspect.  Police obtained a warrant for the suspect’s arrest this morning, and worked in conjunction with the parole officer to arrest the suspect at about 1:15 p.m. this afternoon in the 1700 block of Bay Road in East Palo Alto.  Police booked 52-year-old Melroy Travenia, who has no permanent residence, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail pursuant to the robbery warrant.  A booking photo of the suspect is attached to this release.

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