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


Subject :

Purse Snatchers Rob Woman at Shopping Center
Contact : Janine De la Vega, Public Affairs Manager    650-329-2413

Palo Alto, CA – Police are searching for two men who are responsible for a strong arm robbery that occurred at the Stanford Shopping Center over the weekend. The suspects fled from the scene and their whereabouts are unknown.

On Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 4:01 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a purse snatching that had just occurred outside the McDonalds at the Stanford Shopping Center located at 180 El Camino Real.

The preliminary investigation revealed the victim, a woman in her thirties, was sitting at an outside table near McDonald’s when a man walked up and grabbed her purse which was sitting on the table. She tried to hang on to the purse and was pulled about 10 feet by the fleeing suspect. The victim fell on the concrete walkway.

Two nearby shoppers heard the victim yelling and witnessed what had just happened. Both chased the suspects who ran toward the parking garage. One of the thieves ran directly into a parked car and fell to the ground, dropping the victim’s purse. He continued to run and the witness chasing him picked the purse up and returned it to the victim. Police searched the area, but the suspects were not found. The victim suffered an abrasion to her knee from falling, but declined medical treatment.

The victim described the male suspect who took her purse as a light-skinned black man, in his late teens or early twenties, with a thin to medium build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt that said FILA across the chest, grey shorts and white tennis shoes. The second male suspect is described as Hispanic, in his late teens to early twenties. He was wearing a white t-shirt, grey sweat pants, and black tennis shoes. While the second suspect did not participate in the robbery, he was present during the act and fled with the first suspect.

Detectives are actively investigating this strong arm robbery. There does not seem to be any connection to similar robbery attempts earlier this year.

With the holiday shopping season approaching, please remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Keep a close eye on personal belongings and do not leave valuables unattended or in your vehicle.

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