EAST PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — Police in Palo Alto are looking for suspects in a strong-arm robbery who targeted a 7-11 employee Monday morning as she took thousands of dollars to an area bank to make a deposit.
Police received the call about the robbery at around 9:42 a.m. Monday. Officers investigating the incident learned that the victim, a woman in her 30s, had left the 7-Eleven store on Newell Road in East Palo Alto where she works to make a bank deposit on the store’s behalf.
When the victim reached the intersection of Newell Road and Edgewood Road, her car was rear-ended by a second vehicle.
“There were a couple of suspects waiting for her outside and they followed her away from the store,” explained Palo Alto Police Sgt. Brian Phillip. “When she crossed the Newell Street Bridge, she was involved in an accident.”
Investigators say the unsuspecting victim didn’t yet realize that this was no ordinary fender-bender. It wasn’t an accident at all.
One of the suspects, a black male, approached her and apologized for hitting her car before suggesting that she take a picture of the damage.
The victim then got out of her car with her cell phone, at which point the suspect sprang his trap.
“She got her phone out. The suspect kind of changed gears at that point; grabbed her phone, ran to her car and retrieved a bag of cash from her vehicle,” said Phillip.
The bag contained thousands of dollars from the 7-Eleven store intended for the deposit at a Palo Alto bank branch.
Another driver saw what happened and called 911. But by the time police arrived, the suspects were gone.
Police later recovered the victim’s phone in downtown Palo Alto in the possession of a man who said he had found it Monday morning dumped on University Avenue at Woodland Avenue in East Palo Alto.
Surveillance video captured an image of one of the suspects involved in the robbery.
The victim described the suspect who approached her as a black male in his 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with short hair. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a loose white T-shirt with a logo on it, and khaki pants. From surveillance footage obtained from inside the 7-Eleven, the suspect had been wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with an orange logo on the front and orange drawstrings for the hood.
The victim described the driver of the suspect vehicle as a male Pacific Islander in his 20s wearing a black T-shirt. He had brown curly long hair. He never exited the car during the incident.
The victim described the suspect vehicle as a newer silver four-door sedan, with a yellow paper license plate on the front.
Investigators also managed a photo the getaway car in the 7-Eleven parking lot just prior to the robbery.
Detectives hope someone recognizes the suspect or the car and can point police in their direction.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Departments 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.