PALO ALTO – A 53-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of trying to steal a vehicle at Town & Country Village Shopping Center in Palo Alto over the weekend, police said.
Officers were called to the center at 855 El Camino Real about 6:35 a.m. Sunday for reports of a woman screaming for help outside the Peet’s Coffee, the Palo Alto Police Department said in a news release Tuesday.
Police said the suspect was partially inside the 2013 BMW when an officer arrived at the scene.
“The suspect refused arrest commands and swore at the officer, demanding that the officer to back up,” police said. “The suspect then got out of the vehicle and moved towards the officer in an aggressive manner.”
The officer shot the suspect with a stun gun and he was taken into custody without further incident, police said.
Police said an investigation revealed the victim, a woman in her 50s, had parked the BMW and gotten out to walk inside the café. She had turned off the ignition, but left the key in the vehicle and the doors unlocked. Before she entered the café, she saw the suspect get into the driver’s seat in an apparent attempt to steal the BMW, police said.
The woman ran back to the BMW, opened the door and tried to remove him from the vehicle.
“He refused,” police said. “She kicked at him and yelled for help.”
Police said a man went to help her, but the suspect threatened to kill him. Other bystanders called police.
The suspect was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on charges of carjacking and resisting arrest, police said.
During their investigation, officers were directed to an apparently abandoned car in another part of the shopping center. The car, a black 1999 Mercedes-Benz C280, had been left with the driver’s door ajar. Officers found the suspect’s driver license in a wallet in the backseat. Police said the car was not registered to the suspect, but it had not been reported stolen and officers could not reach the registered owner in San Jose.
The car was towed for unpaid registration fees. Police said officers “are continuing to do follow-up investigation in an effort to determine if the Mercedes had been stolen.”
Anyone with information can contact police at 650-329-2413. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call or text 650-383-8984 or email email@example.com.