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


Subject :

Detectives Arrest Getaway Driver After Unsuccessful Robbery Attempt
Contact : Marianna Villaescusa, Agent, Police Department    650-329-2413
Hernandez-Elvir booking photoElena booking photo
Palo Alto, CA – Following a second purse-snatch robbery at Stanford Shopping Center within three days, detectives tracked down and arrested the getaway driver in both crimes, as well as a second man whose involvement in the crimes is still being investigated.

On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, at about 2:15 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a robbery that had just occurred at the Stanford Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real in the parking lot on the mall's north side.  Officers responded immediately, but the suspect had fled the area in a vehicle prior to police arrival.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a woman in her forties, had been walking with her mother to her parked car.  A vehicle pulled up next to her with its front passenger door already open.  At the same time, a male suspect approached her from behind and tried to pull her purse off of her shoulder.  The victim held onto her purse, and the suspect kept pulling it in an effort to wrench it away from her.  The victim fell to the ground, was dragged about three feet by the suspect, but retained control of her purse.  When the victim’s mother began to scream for help, the suspect let go of the purse and got into the open door of the waiting vehicle.  The vehicle then left the area.  The victim sustained minor injuries to her left hip and left knee from falling to the ground, but did not require medical attention at the scene.  No items were stolen from the victim.

The victim described the suspect vehicle as a dark four-door sedan.  She described the man who tried to steal her purse as a Hispanic male with a thin build, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds.  He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled tight around his face.  The victim reported there were two other Hispanic males in the back seat, and she said the driver was a heavyset Hispanic male with black curly hair.

During the course of the investigation, officers located an alert witness who had observed the suspect vehicle and wrote down the license plate.  Officers noted the striking similarities between this robbery and the one that occurred on Saturday, January 7 at about 6:21 p.m. at Stanford Shopping Center.  Officers and detectives immediately begin conducting follow-up investigation.

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, during the morning hours, detectives conducted surveillance in San Francisco at an address associated with the license plate.  At about 11:10 a.m., detectives saw two men driving in the suspect vehicle in the 400 block of Andover Street in San Francisco, and stopped the car (a black 1996 Lexus ES-300 four-door sedan) without incident.  Detectives located the stolen purse and personal property of the victim from Saturday night’s robbery in the vehicle, and arrested the two occupants.

The ensuing investigation revealed that the driver of the vehicle at the time of the car stop, 38-year-old Delbin Noe Hernandez-Elvir of San Francisco, had been the getaway driver of the Lexus in both robberies at Stanford Shopping Center.  The passenger in the car, 33-year-old Oscar Manuel Elena (a person with no permanent residence address), had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for his arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia.  Detectives are continuing their investigation into Elena’s involvement, if any, with either robbery.  Police booked Hernandez-Elvir into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for one count of felony robbery (for his role in the January 7 crime), one count of felony attempted robbery (for his role in the January 10 crime), and pursuant to an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for shoplifting and providing false information to a peace officer.  Police booked Elena pursuant to his warrant.  Booking photos of both men are attached to this release.

Detective are actively pursuing leads to identify the suspect(s) who actually stole the first victim’s purse and attempted to steal the second victim’s purse, as well as the other passengers in the vehicle at the time of either crime.  When additional arrests are made, we will distribute another news release at that time.

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