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


Subject :

Police Searching for Sexual Battery Suspect
Contact : Marianna Villaescusa, Agent, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA – Police are asking for the public's assistance with identifying a suspect who sexually battered a woman last night as she walked near downtown Palo Alto.

On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at about 9:17 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a woman reporting she had just been the victim of a sexual battery in the 200 block of Alma Street.  Officers responded immediately but could not locate the suspect.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a woman in her twenties, had gotten off of a bus at the Palo Alto Transit Station at 95 University Avenue and then started walking northbound on the east side of Alma Street.  She then noticed a man walking about 15 feet behind her.  When she got to the 200 block of Alma Street, the man ran up to her from behind and grabbed her crotch over her clothing.  The victim screamed, causing the suspect to let go and run away southbound on Alma Street.  The victim gave chase on foot, following the suspect eastbound on Everett Avenue and then southbound on High Street before she lost sight of him.  She immediately called the police.  The victim was not physically injured.

The victim described the suspect as an unknown race "light-skinned" male in his thirties or forties, about 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build.  She said he was wearing a green jacket with dark loose-fitting pants, and she said he may have been wearing a beanie.  No suspect sketch is forthcoming.  Detectives located a surveillance camera that captured the suspect a short time after the crime occurred, and a still image is attached to this release.

Detectives are working in close conjunction with their counterparts with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Transit Police Bureau, who are investigating a similar assault with a similarly-described suspect that occurred at the Palo Alto Transit Station on the night of Wednesday, March 1, 2017.  For information about that crime, click here.  For a sketch of the suspect in that case, click here.  Detectives are not yet sure if the same suspect is responsible for both crimes.

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