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Cops Seeking Stranger Who Harassed, Battered Woman in Palo Alto Neighborhood Park

News from the Palo Alto Police Department:

A man approached a woman at a park in the College Terrace neighborhood yesterday afternoon, engaged her in conversation, and then aggressively touched and kissed her before she was able to shove him away. The woman was not injured and the suspect is at large. 

On Friday, at about 11:28 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from the victim reporting a possible sex crime that had occurred about 20 minutes earlier. Officers responded to the area but were unable to locate the suspect. 

The investigation revealed that the victim, a woman in her 30s, was sitting on a bench at Werry Park at 2100 Dartmouth Street. There were other people in the park at the time.

The suspect approached the victim and engaged her in casual conversation.
Soon, the suspect asked if she was married and if she thought they could become “good friends.”

The victim, now very uncomfortable with the situation, stood up to leave. The suspect then put one of his hands down the back of the victim’s shirt, reaching halfway down her back before she was able to pull away. The suspect then aggressively put both of his arms around the victim, essentially hugging her and pinning her upright against the bench. He kissed her neck and then forcibly pulled her chin towards him in an attempt to kiss her on the mouth.

The victim was able to shove the suspect in the chest, at which point he walked away on foot. The victim last saw him walking southbound on Dartmouth Street out of the park.

She tried to call 9-1-1 from her cell phone, but could not receive a signal. She called police as soon as she was able to do so. 

The victim described the suspect as a Middle Eastern male, between 45 and 55 years of age, about 5 feet 3 inches or 5 feet 4 inches tall, and about 170-180 pounds with a potbelly.

He was slightly unshaven and had short salt-and-pepper hair. The victim said he was wearing a brown and blue plaid button-down dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, brown pants, and brown shoes.

It is possible the victim may be able to meet with a police sketch artist; if that occurs, the sketch will be released as soon as it is available. 

Detectives are investigating this incident. There have been no similar recent cases reported to police. 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at650-329-2413.

Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable atbit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

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