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


Subject :

Police Investigating Two Prowler Incidents Last Night in College Terrace
Contact : Zach Perron, Captain, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA – Police are on the lookout for a man they believe to be responsible for two prowling incidents that occurred last night in the College Terrace neighborhood.

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, at about 8:42 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a suspicious person in the 2300 block of Yale Street.  Police responded to the area but did not locate the suspect.  The victim, a woman in her fifties, reported that at about 8:20 p.m., she had been unloading some items from her car.  A man approached her and started to make small talk.  After she spoke to him briefly, she became uncomfortable and felt as if he were trying to come on to her.  She ended the conversation and the man walked away.

About twenty minutes later, the victim heard the doorknob on her locked front door being shaken, as if someone were trying to get in from the outside.  The doorbell rang next, and when the victim went to answer the door, she saw the back of a man walking away.  She asked him what he wanted, but he ignored her and left on foot southbound on Yale Street.

At about 11:12 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call of a suspicious person in the 200 block of College Avenue.  Police responded to the area but did not locate the suspect.  The victim, a woman in her twenties, reported that she had just returned home and found an unknown man standing in the bushes of her side yard, trying to look through closed blinds into the bedroom window of her roommate (also a woman in her twenties).  The victim asked the man if she could help him; he ignored her and immediately walked away.  The victim went inside and called police.

The victims in both cases described the suspect similarly: a clean-shaven white male in his mid-forties to mid-fifties, about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall with a medium build, with short brown hair that may be graying.  He was wearing blue jeans and either a short-sleeved blue T-shirt or a red plaid shirt.  Neither victim saw or heard a vehicle associated with him.

Detectives are actively working on these two cases.  It is possible that surveillance footage may exist, and that one or both of the victims may be able to work with a police artist to produce a sketch.  We will release any usable surveillance footage, or any suspect sketches, if they become available. Update: We released the above sketch of the suspect at 2:15 p.m. on April 6, 2017.

Detectives are also exploring the possibility that these cases may be connected to another prowling incident that occurred on March 21 at about 10:53 p.m. at a home in the 1100 block of Emerson Street.  In that case, a woman in her seventies called police after seeing a man in her backyard looking into her home.  When she yelled at him, he ran away.  Police searched the area for the suspect but could not locate him.  Detectives conducted follow-up investigation, identified a possible suspect, and have sent the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for review of misdemeanor prowling and trespass charges.  No filing decision has been made as of the date of this release.  No additional information on that possible suspect is available for release, in accordance with our standard procedures surrounding the public identification of identified suspects who have yet to be charged or arrested.

Police encourage the public to promptly report suspicious behavior to our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413, or via 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.  We also recommend never opening your door to a stranger, and instead speaking to them through your closed and locked door so they know 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