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


Subject :

Attempted Strong Arm Robbery Suspect At Large
Contact : Janine De la Vega, Public Affairs Manager    650-329-2413

Palo Alto, CA – Police are looking for a suspect who attempted to rob a man using physical force on Wednesday night. The same suspect may have attempted to rob another victim just moments before. The suspect has not been identified and remains at large.

On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 9:00 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a strong arm robbery that had just occurred in the 200 block of Leland Avenue. The preliminary investigation reveals a male pedestrian in his thirties was walking down the street when a male suspect approached him and demanded his cell phone. The man refused and that is when the suspect took a swing at the victim, but missed. The victim ran away westbound on Leland Avenue and the suspect chased him for an undetermined distance. The victim reported to officers that just prior to the attempted robbery, he observed the suspect approach another pedestrian and demand the iPad they were holding. The victim stated that pedestrian refused and ran away.

The victim describes the suspect as a black male in his forties, about six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and pants. The suspect appeared to be bald and was carrying a large black garbage bag that was a third full. Before the suspect approached the pedestrians, he was observed talking to himself. It is possible that the victim may be able to meet with a police artist to produce a suspect sketch. If that occurs, we will release it immediately.

Detectives are investigating this incident. It does not appear to be related to the strong arm robbery that occurred on January 14, 2019 on University Avenue or the one that occurred on November 23, 2018 on a bike path near University Avenue. The suspects in both of those cases have not been identified and remain at large. The news release for the January 14 incident can be found on our City website at this link and the November 23 incident can be found at this City link.

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