Robbers ages 12, 12 and 14 violently steal woman’s purse at Stanford Shopping Center, police say

The east side of Stanford Shopping Center. Simon Properties photo.
Stanford Shopping Center. Simon Properties photo.

By the Daily Post staff

Palo Alto police say they arrested three juveniles — ages 12, 12 and 14 — who violently attacked a woman in her 60s at Stanford Shopping Center while taking her purse.

The three led officers in a car chase on Highway 101 that ended in Menlo Park, where police took the boys into custody Monday night.

The three were driving a car that had been stolen in Oakland, police said.

The robbery

Police learned of the incident at 8:20 p.m. Monday when they got a call reporting a strong-arm (no weapon) robbery had just occurred in a parking garage at Stanford Shopping Center.

Officers responded and found the victim suffering “moderate injuries” to her head and one knee, police said.

She reported that as she got out of her car to go shopping, two vehicles drove up to her and three juveniles got out and approached her. They attempted to pull her purse off her shoulder. But she held on to it. One of the three boys punched her repeatedly in the back of the head. She fell to the ground, at which point that same suspect stomped on one of her knees. Then she let go of the purse and the boys fled.

She managed to provide a description of one of the boys to police.

Paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital.

The chase

Minutes later, a police officer spotted the vehicle the victim had described — a white, four-door 2016 Mazda 6) going east on Hamilton Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

The officer attempted to stop the Mazda, but the driver sped away. The officer lost sight of the Mazda but another officer spotted it going east on Oregon Expressway approaching 101.

That officer also attempted to stop the Mazda, but again it wouldn’t stop and instead sped away to northbound Highway 101.

Officers chased the Mazda until it eventually yielded on O’Brien Drive near Kavanaugh Drive in Menlo Park. Officers arrested the three boys at 8:35 p.m. and took them to Juvenile Hall.

Victim’s property found

At 9:44 p.m., a resident in the 800 block of Lincoln Avenue called police to report finding an assortment of personal property that had been dumped in front of their house, police said.

Items included the victim’s credit cards that had been in her stolen purse.

About the suspects

The driver of the Mazda and one of the passengers are both 12-year-old residents of Oakland who initially lied to police about their identities, police said.

The other passenger was a 14-year-old Oakland resident.

Police arrested all three boys for robbery, felony battery, and conspiracy to commit a crime. Additionally, the two 12-year-olds were both arrested for providing false information to police. The driver was also arrested for evading police and vehicle theft.

Police are investigating whether these boys committed crimes in other cities. There have been no other robberies recently in Palo Alto committed by juvenile suspects.

Police are also continuing to investigate the presence of the second vehicle that the victim, as well as a witness, mentioned. That vehicle is described as a dark four-door sedan, and was traveling with the white Mazda at the time of the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voicemail to (650) 383-8984.


  1. Dear post, can you investigate to see if the officers were wearing their masks during this pursuit? Based on previous articles, it seems like that’s of more importance then the fact these guys risk their lives for us each day.

    • I remember the story the Post did about cops not wearing masks. My takeaway from that was that the cops were being hypocrites for not following the health order that they were supposed to be enforcing on others. So “Palo Alto north”, it’s good to see somebody taking the side of hypocrisy. You ought to submit your resume to Governor Newsom so that you can spin his visits to the French Laundry to the media.

      • Nick, don’t beat up on “Palo Alto north,” he’s probably just a cop who thinks he’s above the law. Cops don’t think the rules apply to them. They drive drunk, they falsify their reports, they beat people who challenge their authority (“So you think you’re a tough guy?” Wayne Benitez’s famous comment to a Latino suspect) and of course they’re not going to wear any stinkin’ masks. They’re cowboys and no civilian is going to tell them what to do. They’re a paramilitary force that needs to be brought into line, but when you see wimps on council like Adrian Fine, you realize that will never happen.

      • Breaking news, Mr. Palo Alto North —- Cops are supposed to obey the laws they enforce. If you’re OK with mask-less cops, change the law do that we can all dump our masks.

  2. KPIX reported that one of her assailants stomped on her knees. Gratuitously trying to cripple her for life? And bashing an old person on the back of her head could leave permanent damage. We don’t punish juveniles anymore, do we? Maybe some restorative justice sessions assuming the lady survives?

  3. The way our system works, these boys will get at least a year of unsupervised probation. Funny how a lenient justice system comes back to haunt the liberals who support it. Karma.

  4. Social science shows that this will continue happening especially now that there is a lack of resources and we are in the middle of pandemic. It’s called the struggle to survive, the survival crimes are not being justified. I’m just a neutral party sympathizing with both victims, the innocent one and the poverty stricken 12 and 14 year olds.

  5. I love reading all these apologists for violent criminals. We need to consider “root causes”. It was their socio-economic background to blame! I’m surprised nobody has offered “white privilege” as the cause of this beat down.

  6. Hopefully they will be tried as adults, and the adults will be held responsible for their young and pay for all her medical bills and everything else this attack cost this woman, lost wages etc…
    it’s bull crap that these kids act like freaking animals.

  7. I’m wondering where the parents of these kids are? What are these kids doing out, unsupervised and stealing cars and assaulting women, hitting her in the head and stomping on her head? Too bad spanking is considered abuse, my parents spanked my siblings and myself when we were kids and we all
    nev eturned out good and have never been in trouble and neither have any of our kids. Maybe that is what these boys need, which are consequences. Even in elementary school teacbers had what they called “the paddling line” three demerits and you got sent to the paddling line, and parents did not have a problem with it.

  8. I miss the “olden days” when cops would remind people not to hang on to their wallets and purses when rubbed, to reduce the chance of injury.

  9. When we worked at the shopping center, always worried about the parking structure. With all the money these stores used to bring in, security never installed cameras and lighting was not on in the am when employees arrived. Patrols not present. Cost saving measures. With more of a presence, this crime might not happen as often. At least it might be a deterrent. Note: police learned of the incident when they got a CALL.

Comments are closed.