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


Subject :

Police Seek Suspects in Home-Invasion Robbery Attempt
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- Using a ruse of a suspect posing as a pizza delivery person to get a resident to open the front door, two additional suspects wearing masks and armed with a pistol and a knife then entered a home briefly last night but fled when confronted by other residents.  No occupants sustained serious injury, and the suspects are at large.

On Sunday, August 2, 2015, at about 9:45 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a residence in the 4200 block of Suzanne Drive reporting that strangers had just been inside the home and fled.  Officers responded immediately, and despite conducting an area search, were not able to locate the suspects.

The investigation revealed that the victim family had recently moved into the home within the past week. At the time of this incident, the parents (a couple in their forties) were at home with their three children (an adult teenage daughter, an 11-year-old child, and an 8-year-old child).  A suspect knocked on the door, and the adult daughter answered it.  The suspect was holding a pizza delivery bag and said the family had ordered a pizza.  The daughter said they had done no such thing, and began to close the door.  The suspect then pushed his way into the home and was soon followed by two men wearing masks.  Each masked suspect was armed, one with a semi-automatic pistol and the other with a knife.

The suspects did not make it past the entryway of the home, as they were confronted by the mother.  One of the masked suspects tried to prevent the mother from screaming by trying to cover her mouth with his hand; in the process, the mother received a small scratch near her mouth but did not require medical attention.  The father then ran to help his family, at which point the three suspects turned and fled on foot.  They were only in the home for less than a minute, and did not take any property.  A witness heard a car leaving the scene at a high rate of speed, but did not see the vehicle.

The victims described the first suspect (the one with the pizza delivery bag) as a white male in his twenties, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 170 pounds.  He had blond hair and brown eyes, and was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt under a red short-sleeved T-shirt with yellow and white writing on the front.  The victims could only describe the two masked suspects as men, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and 220 pounds with muscular builds.  They were wearing all black clothing and black masks.  One of the victims met with a police sketch artist, who produced the above sketch of the first suspect (this sketch was released on August 3, 2015, at 1:10 p.m.).

Detectives are actively investigating this crime.  Detectives believe that the case is an isolated incident, as preliminary information gathered at the scene shows that the suspects specifically picked this family for victimization (though the reason why is not available for public release because it could potentially compromise the ongoing investigation).  Armed home-invasion robbery attempts are exceptionally rare in Palo Alto; the last similar incident occurred in January 2014. 

When a stranger comes to your door, police recommend talking through the door to ask who is calling, or otherwise acknowledge in some manner that someone is home.

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