Robber in electric wheelchair hits Palo Alto bank – and escapes

EagleHeadline | Jun. 17, 2017

Palo Alto police are searching for a bearded man who held up a bank at Stanford Shopping Center at gunpoint late this afternoon – and then escaped in an electric wheelchair.

Police described the suspect as a white male, 65 to 70 years old, with gray hair and a beard. He was last seen at about 4:25 p.m. motoring toward El Camino Real, his right leg sticking straight out, said Agent Dan Ryan of the Palo Alto Police Department.

Both of the man’s legs were wrapped in some type of bandages or gauze.

The suspect, apparently toting a shopping bag he received from a nearby Sharper Image story, entered a Wachovia Bank at the shopping center and pointed a black handgun at a teller and demanded money, police reported. The hood of the man’s sweatshirt was pulled over his head during the incident.

It was unclear how much money the suspect made off with but it appeared as though he needed the wheelchair, Ryan said. Ryan said the wheelchair was large, bulky and probably would have required some type of hydraulic lift to get it into a vehicle.

By 5 p.m., police were looking for a white Ford van with red lettering from San Bruno in which the suspect may have fled, police reported.

Based on witness interviews, investigators were confident that before entering the bank, the suspect went to a nearby Sharper Image store and asked for a shopping bag.

Store clerks then watched him enter the van and drive off. Bank employees recalled seeing the alleged robber with a Sharper Image shopping bag.

“We believe he was the same guy,” Ryan said.

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