Three men rob people in broad daylight in downtown Palo Alto

John King points to where robbers grabbed a laptop at Starbucks on University Ave. in Palo Alto. Post photo by Sara Tabin.
John King points to where robbers grabbed a laptop at Starbucks on University Ave. in Palo Alto. Post photo by Sara Tabin.

BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer

Three men snatched a laptop from under its owner’s nose at Starbucks and attempted to take an iPad from an Apple Store employee in downtown Palo Alto at 4:55 p.m. Monday (Sept. 9).

The Apple Store employee was returning to work after making a stop at his parking garage when the hit occurred, he told the Post. The three men approached him and one attempted to grab the iPad he was carrying. When he resisted, a second man made a move for the device, smacking the victim in the face as he attempted to wrestle the iPad away.

The victim was able to escape with his iPad. He said he believed the men were scouting for people who had electronic devices out.

The men then walked down University Avenue past Starbucks, according to Zachary Estrada who was seated at the curb outside Starbucks. They were wearing hoodies tied around their faces, said Estrada. Two were wearing dark jeans while one had red jeans with paint splatter.

After walking a short distance past Starbucks, the men turned around and walked briskly back up the street.

Grab and run

As they passed the coffee shop, one of them reached over the planter boxes that separate Starbucks’ outdoor seating from the street and grabbed a laptop that a woman was using. Her drink spilled when they grabbed the laptop, said John King, who was seated near the victim when the robbery took place.

The three men broke into a run as several witnesses, including King and Estrada, gave chase. When the perpetrators turned the corner at Florence Street, they disappeared.

“Sounds to me like they’re doing a string,” said Estrada. “I’ve seen this kind of stuff happen in the East Bay where kids go on a spree where they rob 20 people in a day.”

The victim who lost her laptop estimated its value at $2,500 to police.

Officer Daniel Cuevas of the Palo Alto Police Department said both victims declined medical attention.

The police are investigating the incidents.

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