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


Subject :

Armed Suspect Attempts to Rob Man in Downtown Palo Alto
Contact : Marco Estrada, Officer, Police    650-329-2413
Sketch of Suspect
Palo Alto, CA -- A suspect armed with a handgun attempted to rob a pedestrian in a downtown Palo Alto parking garage last night.  The victim fought back briefly, then ran away and escaped without injury while retaining his property.  The suspect is at large.

On Friday, February 22, 2013, at about 8:24 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a 9-1-1 call from a man who reported someone had just tried to rob him at gunpoint near the Cowper / Webster Parking Garage at 520 Webster Street.  Officers arrived on scene within two minutes, but were not able to locate the suspect.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his fifties, had paused on a walk along the pathway on the south side of the parking garage.  While he was stopped, the suspect rode up to him on a bicycle.  The suspect pulled a gun and demanded cash from the victim.  The victim grabbed the suspect's arm and tried to wrestle the gun away from him.  The two men fell to the ground and struggled for a few moments over the gun.  The suspect never lost control of it.  The victim gave up and ran away.  The suspect did not give chase, and the victim last saw him on the pathway at the site of the robbery attempt.  The suspect did not obtain any of the victim’s property.  The victim was not injured.  The victim called 9-1-1 about 10 minutes after the incident.

The victim described the suspect as a black male between 25 and 30 years of age and about 160 to 170 pounds.  The suspect was wearing a burnt orange bulky jacket and a dark watch cap.  He was riding a brown "cruiser-style" bicycle.  A sketch of the suspect has been added to this release as of Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Detectives are actively investigating this incident, including any possible connection to three other armed robberies that have occurred in Palo Alto in recent weeks.  Those cases are an armed robbery of a man and woman walking in the 300 block of Ramona Street on the evening of January 22, 2013, the armed robbery of a man in a carport in the 1000 block of Tanland Drive on the morning of February 9, 2013, and the armed robbery of a woman walking in the 300 block of Bryant Street on the evening of February 13, 2013.

Police recommend that people remain aware of their surroundings when out for walks, and report suspicious behavior immediately to 9-1-1.  Police ask that anyone who may have information about this crime contact 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.