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


PRESS RELEASE 0224201502
Subject :

Strong-Arm Robbery Occurs at University Avenue Train Station
Contact : Jayme Ackemann, Communications Manager, Caltrain    650-508-7934
Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- Two suspects approached a man who uses a wheelchair at the University Avenue train station just after 1:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, took property from his pockets, and fled on foot.  The victim was not injured and the suspects are at large.

On Saturday, February 21, 2015, at about 1:01 a.m., the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center received a call reporting a strong-arm robbery that had just occurred at the University Avenue train station at 95 University Avenue.  Officers responded immediately but were not able to locate the suspects.  Deputies from the Transit Police Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, which has primary law enforcement jurisdiction at the location, responded to investigate the crime.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his fifties, was seated in his wheelchair on the southbound platform.  Two men approached the victim, grabbed a brown paper bag from his possession, and looked through it.  They removed several bottles of prescription medication belonging to the victim.  They then began rifling through his pockets, removing his wallet and cell phone.  They took his identification card and cash from the wallet before throwing it on the ground.  The two men then ran north towards the bus station, and were last seen running westbound across El Camino Real.  Police used a canine unit to search for the suspects, but could not find them.

The victim described the first suspect as black male in his twenties, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a heavy build and a beard.  The victim said he was wearing a black jacket, black jeans, and black shoes.  The victim described the second suspect as a white male in his twenties with a thin build, wearing a gray multi-colored backpack.  If the victim is able to meet with a sketch artist, we will release any completed sketches as soon as possible.

The follow-up investigation in this case is being handled by detectives assigned to the Transit Police Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, who are working in close collaboration with detectives with the Palo Alto Police Department.  Personnel from the Transit Police Bureau, Caltrain, and the Palo Alto Police Department have jointly prepared this news release.

No other robberies at train stations in Palo Alto have been reported recently.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at 800-547-2700.  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 the Palo Alto Police Department’s free mobile app, downloadable at or