Woman throws hot coffee on would-be robber near Stanford Shopping Center

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A woman targeted in an attempted robbery near Stanford Shopping Center on Saturday morning threw hot coffee on one of the two suspects who escaped on a bicycle, police said.

The woman, who is in her 20s, was walking at a parking lot near El Camino Real and Quarry Road around 9:50 a.m., when the suspects came up to her on a bike, police said.

One of the suspects stood on the pegs of the bike’s rear wheel and held onto his pedaling accomplice’s shoulders as he stepped off and tried to yank off the woman’s purse from her shoulder, but she threw the hot cup of coffee she had just bought at his face, police said.

The suspect punched the woman’s face and caused her to scream. He then he hopped back on the bike toward Quarry Road, according to police.

The woman, who didn’t lose any of her belongings, was left with a minor injury to her face, but didn’t request medical attention, police said.

The woman reported the attempted robbery to police around 10:20 a.m. Officers who responded to the scene were unable to find the suspects, police said.

It’s not clear if the main suspect was injured during the encounter with the woman, according to police.

The primary suspect was described as a skinny black man in his 20s who stood 6 feet 3 inches to 6 feet 5 inches tall and had a squared-off flat-top haircut. He wore a red V-neck cotton T-shirt and black jeans, police said.

The cycling suspect was described as a white man in his 20s with short brown or black hair and a thin or medium build, according to police. He was wearing a gray short-sleeved shirt with thin, black horizontal stripes and a floral print on the collar and sleeve ends, paired with blue jeans.

The woman only recalled the bicycle wasn’t a small BMX-type of vehicle, according to police.

Saturday’s attempted purse snatch doesn’t appear to be related with one on Jan. 7 or Jan. 12 near the mall. The investigation in last month’s incidents led police to San Francisco where they arrested one man who was believed to be the getaway driver in both cases and another on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.

Anyone with information about Saturday’s incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

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