Man in wheelchair robs bank at gunpoint

April 5, 2008 4:08:01 PM PDT
A man in a motorized wheelchair allegedly robbed a Palo Alto bank at gunpoint and evaded police Thursday afternoon, the Police Department reported.

Police were called on reports of a robbery to the Wachovia bank in the Stanford Shopping Center at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sand Hill Road at about 4:25 p.m., police said.

The man, apparently confined to a large electric wheelchair and estimated to be between 65 and 70 years old, entered the bank with a shopping bag and a handgun and demanded the bank clerk fill the bag with cash, according to police.

The suspect was given an undisclosed amount of cash and was last seen leaving the bank in his wheelchair, police said. There was a delay in notification to the Police Department, and the suspect was able to leave the scene before police arrived, according to the department.

An investigation into the incident revealed that the suspect had entered The Sharper Image prior to the robbery and asked for a shopping bag without making a purchase, police said.

Witnesses told police that the suspect was seen entering a large white van with red lettering on the side and a wheelchair lift at the back after leaving the store. Another man was seen assisting the suspect into the van, police said.

A few minutes later, the suspect allegedly robbed the bank across the parking lot from the Sharper Image store. However, bank employees did not report seeing the suspect entering a getaway vehicle following the robbery.

The suspect is described as white man who is possibly balding with a gray beard and wearing a cast on one leg. He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, police said.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the anonymous tip line at (650) 329-2190.


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