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


PRESS RELEASE 0903201503
Subject :

Police Investigate Unusual Robbery Downtown; No Injuries
Contact : Marianna Villaescusa, Agent, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA – Police are investigating an unusual robbery reported earlier this week in downtown Palo Alto, where an unknown suspect stole an adult pedestrian's cell phone out of the hands of a teenage girl who had asked to borrow it to make a call.

On Monday, August 31, 2015, at about 6:43 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a robbery that had just occurred on University Avenue near Bryant Street.  Officers responded to the area immediately, but could not locate the suspect.

The investigation revealed that two adult women (one in her thirties, the other in her twenties) were walking together on University Avenue.  When they stopped at the intersection with Bryant Street, a 16-year-old girl approached them and asked if she could borrow one of their phones to call her mother.  One of the adults agreed and handed the girl her cell phone.  The girl dialed a number and put the phone to her ear.  An unknown suspect then walked up behind the girl, took the phone out of her hand, and ran away through City Parking Garage "S" at 445 Bryant Street.  The owner of the cell phone and the girl both gave chase on foot, but lost the suspect as he vaulted over a short wall onto Florence Street.  The other adult called police on her cell phone.  No one was injured.

The victims and witness described the suspect as a dark-skinned male, either black or Hispanic, in his mid-twenties.  He was about six feet one inch tall with a thin build and short brown hair.  He was wearing a black tank top and dark-colored shorts.  No sketch of the suspect is forthcoming.  Detectives are actively investigating the case.

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