Five men robbed a couple parked at the Stanford Mall where they took jewelry and a handbag before escaping in two separate cars on Wednesday afternoon. While stuck in traffic, one of the vehicles slammed into a van to flee the area, police said.
Officers responded to the parking lot near Nordstrom at 180 El Camino Real at around 2:10 p.m. to a report from a loss prevention officer who believed he saw a car burglary in progress. The incident was reclassified as an armed robbery after one of the victims contacted law enforcement as police attended the scene, according to a police news release.
The couple, a man and a woman in their 30s, returned to their car when two white vehicles pulled up behind them and blocked their exit from the parking spot, police said.
Two men got out of one of the two vehicles, a white Audi, and approached the woman in the front passenger seat. One of the men pointed a black handgun at her while the other man snatched her purse. The gunman then asked for his watch and snatched it from his wrist.
Three other men armed with black handguns got out of the second vehicle, a white Dodge Challenger, and approached the man sitting behind the wheel as he tried to help the woman. The encounter turned into a physical struggle in which a member of the trio punched the man’s head and took his necklace, police said. The man defended himself as the men tried unsuccessfully to take his watch, and the trio retreated to the Challenger.
The men from the Audi and Challenger followed each other in the parking lot and headed east on Sand Hill Road, where they landed in traffic east of Arboretum Drive. The man driving the Challenger honked his horn to get the other vehicles moving. When that didn’t work, he drove in the back of a black 1993 Toyota T100 pickup truck, which gave the Challenger and Audi space to cross, police said.
The Toyota driver, a man in his 30s, reported no injuries. His truck sustained minor damage.
The men who robbed the woman were seen wearing black ski-style masks that completely covered their faces and wearing gloves.
The man who lost his necklace suffered minor head and neck injuries but refused medical attention at the scene, police said. He remembers the trio all wearing dark clothes and one of them was around 6ft tall.
The thieves could face a range of criminal charges, including robbery, conspiracy and assault with a deadly weapon, which stem from their hitting the van to leave the area, police said.
Police released a photo of the Challenger taken from a surveillance system, but no “usable” images of the Audi or the thieves were available Wednesday evening, according to the press release. Investigators are investigating whether there are any links to the robbery and other recent crimes in the area.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department’s 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous advice can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text or voicemail to 650-383-8984.