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Ride-hailing driver escapes attempted carjacking in Palo Alto

PIX Now - Morning Edition 4/24/24
PIX Now - Morning Edition 4/24/24 09:43

A ride-hailing driver escaped from an attempted carjacking in Palo Alto this week, police said Wednesday.

Palo Alto police said a man in his 20s contacted dispatchers at about 12:47 a.m. Monday and met with officers on the 100 block of University Avenue to report the attempted carjacking. He told them he had been driving his black 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander to pick up a fare around the 800 block of Forest Avenue in Palo Alto's Crescent Park neighborhood.

The victim told officers an older-model white minivan, possibly a Toyota Sienna or Kia Sedona, pulled up next to him and then suddenly pulled in front of him and stopped. Three men got out of the suspect car and one of them yelled at the victim to get out of his car, but the victim locked himself inside his vehicle, he told police

The victim said one suspect began hitting his vehicle with a long metal rod while another began hitting the driver-side door window with his hand and tried to pull the door open, police said. The victim told police he was able to drive around the suspect vehicle and flee, but the suspects began to chase him in their vehicle. Eventually, the suspects ended the chase and the victim called police from the 100 block of University Avenue, police said.

The victim's vehicle had moderate damage on the driver's side from being hit with the metal rod, police said. The ride-hailing driver told police he didn't know why the suspects targeted him and said he had had no interaction with them before the incident. Police believe the motive was either a robbery and/or an attempted carjacking.

The victim told police all the suspects were adult males; the suspect pulling the door handle was a Black male and the suspect with the metal rod was an unknown race bald male wearing a light-colored shirt. The third suspect was also an unknown race.

Police said there were no similar crimes reported in Palo Alto recently. Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call the department at (650) 329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

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