Security staff at the store, located at 340 Portage Ave., called police at about 4 p.m. to report that a man with a goatee was seen attaching a cell phone to the strap of his handbag, which he then would place on the floor near female customers, Palo Alto police spokesman Agent Dan Ryan said.
He would nudge the bag near the women's feet and then would pretend to look at merchandise, Ryan said.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 30s. He wore a gray baseball cap, gray T-shirt and blue jeans, police said.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Police Department at (650) 329-2413.