Couple Robbed at Gunpoint at Stanford Shopping Center

Palo Alto Police are investigating a brazen armed robbery that occurred Wednesday afternoon in a parking lot at the Stanford Shopping Center, where men armed with handguns accosted a couple in their vehicle and stole jewelry and a purse.  When the suspects got stuck in traffic fleeing the area, they rammed a vehicle as they tried to escape.  One victim received minor physical injuries.  The suspects remain at large.

On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at about 2:10 p.m., the Palo Alto 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a loss prevention officer reporting what they thought may be an auto burglary in progress in the parking lot near Nordstrom at Stanford Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real.  As officers were responding to the area, one of the victims called police to report that the incident had actually been an armed robbery, and the suspects had just fled the scene in two separate vehicles.

The investigation revealed that the victims, a male and a female in their thirties, had been walking back to their car in the parking lot.  Once they were seated inside, the two suspect vehicles (a white Dodge Challenger with a black hood, and a white Audi sedan) pulled up behind them, preventing them from backing up to leave.

Two male suspects exited the Audi and approached the female victim as she sat in the front passenger seat of her vehicle.  One of those two suspects pointed a black handgun at her, while the other suspect reached into the car and took her purse.  The armed suspect then demanded her watch and proceeded to rip the watch off her wrist.

Simultaneously, three male suspects (all armed with black handguns) exited the Challenger and approached the male victim as he was trying to get out of his car to help the female victim.  A physical struggle ensued, during which one of the suspects punched the male victim in the head and ripped a necklace from his neck.  They also demanded his watch and attempted to pull it off him, but he resisted, and they ultimately returned to their car without it.  The male victim sustained minor physical injuries to his wrist and head but declined medical attention at the scene.

The two vehicles then drove out of the parking lot together and began to head eastbound on Sand Hill Road when they got stuck in traffic just east of Arboretum Drive.  The driver of the Challenger began honking in an attempt to get traffic to move, but when that failed, he intentionally accelerated into the back of a black 1993 Toyota T100 pick-up in the traffic lane, ramming the truck out of his way and creating a space through which the Challenger and Audi could pass to continue to flee in an eastbound direction.  The driver of the pick-up, a male in his thirties, was not injured.  His vehicle sustained minor damage.

The female victim described the two men who robbed her as being men of unknown race with dark skin.  They were both wearing black full-face ski-style masks and gloves.  The male victim described the three men who robbed him as all wearing darker clothing, with one of them being a Hispanic male and another being about six feet tall.  The victims could not further describe the suspects.

Police reviewed surveillance footage from the parking lot at the time of the incident.  One still image of the white Challenger appears above; no usable images of the Audi or the suspects could be located by the time of this release.  If surveillance images of the suspects are later located, we will release them as soon as possible.

Detectives are actively investigating this incident and exploring any possible connections between these crimes and others in the region.  Once identified and arrested, the suspects could face felony charges that minimally include robbery, conspiracy, and assault with a deadly weapon (for intentionally ramming the pick-up to facilitate their escape).