Palo Alto police arrested a Macy’s shoplifting suspect on Tuesday morning after she disregarded commands during a car stop before backing her vehicle into a patrol car, crashing her car after fleeing, and then trying to escape on foot.
On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at about 10:40 a.m., the Palo Alto dispatch center received a call from an employee at Macy’s at Stanford Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real reporting an in-progress shoplift of several pairs of sunglasses. The employee reported that the single suspect had fled in a vehicle.
At about 10:51 a.m., an officer spotted the suspect vehicle (a black 2007 Honda CRV) driving in the 2800 block of Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. The officer made a car stop in a business parking lot nearby and contacted the driver (and solo occupant) as she stepped out of her vehicle. After a short conversation, she walked away from the officer and got back into the driver’s seat. The officer gave her multiple commands to stop, all of which she ignored. She then reversed her car, striking the front passenger’s side corner of the patrol vehicle as the officer stood alongside it. The suspect then drove forward over a curb, onto a grassy lawn, and sped off at a high rate of speed.
As the officer returned to the patrol car, the officer lost sight of the suspect vehicle briefly and went looking for it. The officer found the suspect vehicle again in a parking lot in the 2900 block of Sand Hill Road, where it sped past the patrol car in the opposite direction. As the officer lost sight of it again and made a U-turn to catch up, the officer saw the vehicle in the distance as it struck a curb in the 2800 block of Sand Hill Road at about 50 miles per hour, rolled over once, and came to rest on its wheels in an embankment.
The suspect got out of the car and stood next to it for about a minute as the officer gave her arrest commands, which she ignored. She re-entered the vehicle briefly, and then took off running on foot. The officer gave chase and tackled her in the grass after a short foot pursuit. The suspect resisted arrest by continuing to pull her hands away and attempting to stand up, despite repeated commands to stay on the ground and provide her hands to the officer for handcuffing. Eventually, a male passerby in his thirties came to assist the officer, and once other officers arrived as back-up, police took her into custody without further incident.
The original officer sustained a moderate injury to his arm and was treated and released at a local hospital. Paramedics transported the suspect to a local hospital as a precaution due to the rollover collision and resulting complaints of pain to her neck, back, and hand.
Inside the suspect vehicle, police found nine pairs of stolen sunglasses with a total value of about $3900. Police returned the stolen merchandise to Macy’s.
Police booked the suspect, 35-year-old Francesca Marie Maufas of San Francisco, into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for four felony charges: assault with a deadly weapon (for reversing her car in the direction of the officer), resisting arrest, reckless evading, and grand theft. Police also booked for her three outstanding warrants (a felony for grand theft out of San Jose, a misdemeanor for shoplifting / providing false identification to police out of Marin County, and a misdemeanor for theft out of Alameda County). Her booking photo appears above.