Palo Alto

Palo Alto Man Robbed at Gunpoint in Driveway While Child is Inside the Car: Police

There were no reported injuries during the robbery.

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Police in Palo Alto are investigating an armed robbery in which two suspects robbed a man at gunpoint Friday.

On Friday at 6:31 p.m., officers with the Palo Alto Police Department responded to a robbery.

Police said the victim, a man in his 30s, had just parked in his driveway and was getting a young child out of the backseat of his vehicle when the suspect vehicle pulled up nearby in a black car.

A man wearing a ski mask got out of the black car and pointed a pistol at the victim and demanded the victim's property.

The driver of the black car remained in the vehicle but was also pointing a handgun at the victim, police said.

The victim handed over his wristwatch, and the suspects drove away.

There were no reported injuries during the robbery.

Diana Modica who lives across the street said she and her family were on their porch at the time of the robbery and saw it happen. She said she saw someone in a mask run from her neighbor's car to the black car and then speed off down the street. Modica added that her sister saw the person in a mask holding a gun.

"It seemed pretty targeted, they seemed to really know what they were doing, they jumped out and jumped back in,” Modica recalled.

"The guy who was accosted had a child in the car, [he] took the child inside, and then came over to see if we saw anything if we saw the license plate—because he saw us," she continued.

Modica didn't see the license plate, but her home security video did capture some of the incident. She said the robbery happened very quickly. In her home security video, the black car can be seen pulling up to her neighbor's house and then speeding off down the street about ten seconds later.

"It's just kind of odd to me that someone would do something like that with guns just for a watch," said neighbor Michael Hodos.

He added that this is the first time he's heard of an armed robbery happening on his block.

"Never have we had anything like this, not in the 44 years I’ve lived here," Hodos said.

Palo Alto police told NBC Bay Area on Saturday that they believe that this robbery involved the same vehicle and suspects as another incident at the Palo Alto Patagonia store a few minutes earlier that same evening.

Police said that they received a report that two men had been sitting in a black two-door Honda Accord in front of the Patagonia store on Alma Street "for an extended length of time."

One of the men in the car opened the door, made eye contact with a security guard standing nearby, then drove off headed eastbound on University Avenue. The license plate of that Honda Accord had been reported stolen out of Oakland and did not belong on a Honda, police said.

There was another incident at the Stanford Shopping Center that evening where Palo Alto police said people in a car reported stolen out of San Francisco were peering into windows of parked cars. Palo Alto Police told NBC Bay Area they do not believe that the car at the Stanford Shopping Center was the same one seen in the robbery "however, we cannot rule out if it is related."

Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to call Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

Bay City News contributed to the report.

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