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


Subject :

Bike Riding Thief Robs Pedestrian in Downtown
Contact : Janine De la Vega, Public Affairs Manager    6503292413

Palo Alto, CA – Police are looking to identify and capture a suspect who robbed a female victim as she was walking down University Avenue Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at around 8:55 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a strong-arm robbery that just occurred in the 100 block of University Avenue. The preliminary investigation revealed the victim, an adult female in her twenties, was walking westbound while looking down at her phone when a male suspect riding a bicycle approached her from behind and grabbed her purse. The victim held on and was dragged several feet. She let go of her purse, but chased the suspect while screaming for help. The suspect escaped and fled north on High Street on his bicycle.

Detectives are actively investigating this strong-arm robbery. They are looking to see if video surveillance footage is available. If any is found that is helpful in identifying the suspect, we will release the images. There does not appear to be any connection to similar robbery attempts earlier this year. During the holiday season, please remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.

The victim described the suspect as a tall black male in his twenties with a thin build. He is approximately 6’1 weighing 170 pounds with short curly black hair. The suspect wore a charcoal gray jacket and black pants. The model of the bicycle he was riding is unknown. There is a possibility the victim may be able to meet with a police artist to produce a sketch. If that occurs, we will release a suspect sketch immediately.

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 voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or