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


Subject :

Police Arrest Parolee in Stolen Vehicle after Pursuit
Contact : Agent Dan Ryan, Palo Alto Police Department    408-406-1330
Palo Alto, CA - Police responded to Park Boulevard and California Avenue shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 15, on a report of a man trying to entice two teens into his van. The two teens declined the offer and ran from the scene to call for help. They described a white male subject, 30 - 40 years old, with a rounded face, driving a late model passenger van with dark-tinted windows. The male subject was last seen in the area of the 100 block of California Avenue, near the Cal-Train depot.

Detective Brian Philip saw a man with a similar description sitting in a parked van in the Cal-Train parking lot, at approximately 1:48 PM. Philip approached the man, identified himself and started to question the man, who was smoking marijuana inside the van. The man started the van and sped away, with the Detective in pursuit in his unmarked vehicle. A patrol officer joined the pursuit in a marked vehicle and the chase continued through the neighborhood for several minutes, from College Avenue to Page Mill Road and from Park Boulevard to El Camino Real. 

Suspecting that the fleeing man might be a kidnapper, and based on his reckless and evasive driving through busy streets, pursuing officers attempted several times without success to ram the fleeing van and end the pursuit. 

The driver eventually jumped from the van in the 100 block of Page Mill Road and the van crashed into the retaining wall. The man fled on foot to northbound Birch Avenue and then westbound on Sheridan Avenue. Detective Philip, a former football linebacker, caught up to and tackled the man in the 300 block of Sheridan Avenue. 

Todd Martin Celano, 35 years-old, was arrested and charged with Felony Evading, Possession of Stolen Property, Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia, Resisting Arrest, and Violation of Parole. The van had been reported stolen several days earlier from the same neighborhood so Celano was also charged with Auto Theft. He was booked into the Main Jail at San Jose. Investigation is continuing to determine if Celano is the same person who tried to lure the two teens into the van.