PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – Purse snatchers at the Stanford Shopping Center were foiled Sunday when shoppers chased them down and recovered a stolen purse, Palo Alto police said Tuesday.

The incident happened about 4 p.m., when a woman was sitting at an outside table near McDonald’s at the mall, located at 660 Stanford Shopping Center, according to a news release from Palo Alto police.

A man walked up and grabbed her purse, but she tried to hang on to it and was pulled about 10 feet by the suspect. She eventually fell to the walkway and the suspect fled with the purse.

Two nearby shoppers, however, heard the victim yelling and chased two suspects to a parking garage. One of the thieves ran into a parked car and fell, dropping the purse. He ran away and left the purse, which was returned by a shopper to the victim.

The suspect who grabbed the purse was described as a light-skinned black man, in his late teens or early 20s, with a thin-to-medium build. He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt with FILA written on the front, gray shorts and white tennis shoes.

The second suspect was described as Hispanic, in his late teens to early 20s, wearing a white T-shirt, gray sweat pants and black tennis shoes. While the second suspect didn’t participate in the robbery, he fled with the first suspect, police said.

Detectives are investigating the incident. There doesn’t seem to be any connection to similar robbery attempts earlier this year, police said.

Police urge residents to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, and to keep a close eye on personal belongings.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police’s 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.


© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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