Palo Alto PD: Woman assaulted by man she tried to help, police release suspect's sketch

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A woman in Palo Alto reportedly tried to perform a good deed, but was instead attacked by the person she was trying to help. Police released a sketch of the suspect on Wednesday. 

"My whole living room was lit up with the cop lights, said Kenney Mencher, who lives near the area where the attack occurred.

He told KTVU that he looked out of his window to find Palo Alto police officers on his block.

"The police were picking up identifications from the pavement. Like there were ID cards and possibly some other papers and things like that."

Police say that just after 4 a.m. Monday morning, as a woman walked to her car along the 100 block of Everett Ave, a man asked whether she could spare change.

The woman in her thirties told police she obliged and when she turned to go into her car to retrieve the change, the man attacked her.

"She opened her car to reach in to get the change. At that point he came up behind her and hit her twice… once in the back and once in the back of her head," said Palo Alto Police Captain Zach Perron.

As the victim fought back and screamed, the attacker snatch her wallet from her jacket pocket before running east down Everett Avenue.

"She drove herself to the police department immediately and notified authorities a short time later," Captain Perron said.

The victim describes her attacker as a white male in his late twenties to mid-thirties with a height of about 5 feet 11 inches tall with a skinny build.

He had brown or dirty blonde, long straight hair, an unkempt beard, and a beanie with a pompom on top.

"This is the third sexual assault in Palo Alto by a stranger within the last three weeks. That is exceptionally rare," said Capt. Perron.

Daniel Eduardo Alvarez of East Palo Alto was arrested and named a suspect for an incident that took place on December 29th in the 2500 block of El Camino Real.

And Marcelo Garcia Martinez was arrested for a December 20th attack in the 400 block of Miramonte Avenue.

Because of those arrests, police say they're certain that none of the cases are connected, but say the close proximity of this cluster of crimes is surprising.

"I can say in my twenty one years of being a cop in this city, I can't remember a time that we've had three violent sexual attacks by strangers on women in public in this short amount of time."

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.