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


Subject :

Man Attempts to Grab 11-Year-Old Bicyclist’s Arm
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police    650-329-2413
Sketch of Suspect
Palo Alto, CA -- Police are looking for a man who attempted to grab an 11-year-old girl's arm as she rode her bicycle past him on Monday afternoon after cursing at her as she approached him.

On Monday, February 4, 2013, at about 5:36 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of suspicious circumstances that had occurred about 20 minutes earlier in the 1600 block of Emerson Street.  Officers responded to the area but could not locate the suspect.

The girl told police she was riding her bicycle southbound in the 1600 block of Emerson Street.  She first saw the suspect standing in the street, glaring at her.  He walked to the west sidewalk and began to yell curse words at her as she approached.  When she was about 10 feet away from him, he stepped off the sidewalk and attempted to grab her right arm as she rode past.  He did not actually make contact with her.  She screamed, pedaled faster, and rode away from him.  He did not attempt to follow her, but as she rode away, she heard him yell that he was going to "kidnap" her.  She last saw him running away from her in the opposite direction, headed northbound on Emerson Street.  She rode home and told her parents what had occurred.

The victim described the suspect as a white male in his thirties, between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, and weighing between 140 and 160 pounds.  He had light-colored hair and was either balding or had a receding hairline.  He was wearing eyeglasses and a “puffy” dark blue jacket.  A sketch of the suspect is attached.  There is no known suspect vehicle, and police have not been able to locate any witnesses to what occurred.

Officers and detectives from the Palo Alto Police Department have increased marked and unmarked patrols in the area.  We have received no reports of any similar incidents elsewhere in town.

There are a number of good personal safety and crime prevention tips posted on the City of Palo Alto website.  Visit for more information.

We recommend that you remain aware of your surroundings when out in public, and we encourage you to report suspicious behavior immediately via 9-1-1.  Encourage your children to be alert and to tell an adult about anything they see that does not seem quite right.  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.