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


Subject :

Armed Suspect Robs Woman Sitting in Car of Cell Phone
Contact : Brian Philip, Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413

Palo Alto, CA – An unknown suspect armed with a handgun approached a woman sitting in her car near downtown Palo Alto late Friday night and stole her cell phone. The woman was not physically injured, and the suspect is at large.

On Friday, November 10, 2017 at about 10:58 p.m., the victim, a woman in her twenties, flagged down a passing police officer in downtown Palo Alto to report that she had just been robbed at gunpoint in the 400 block of Cowper Street.

The victim said she had been sitting in her parked car with the engine running while looking at her cell phone. The suspect walked up to her driver’s side window, pointed a gun at her, and demanded that she give him money. The victim handed over her cell phone instead, and the suspect ran away southbound on Cowper Street towards University Avenue.

The victim described the suspect as a black or Hispanic male of unknown age, with an average build. He was wearing a red zippered sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head. He did not speak with an accent. The victim described the gun as being a silver handgun. As the victim was not able to get a clear look at the suspect’s face, no suspect sketch will be forthcoming.

Detectives are actively investigating this incident. There have been no other similar robberies in Palo Alto recently.

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