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Woman Robbed at Knifepoint in Los Altos Hills

A driver, flagged down by the driver in the vehicle behind her, was robbed in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon on Miranda Road.

A woman was robbed at knifepoint on a secluded part of Miranda Road Wednesday afternoon, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office reported.

Sheriff's Office Capt. Ken Binder stated in an email to Los Altos Hills officials that the incident, which occurred before 2:15 p.m., unfolded like this: The suspect in his vehicle followed the victim in her vehicle very closely for a time, and then finally flagged her down.

He indicated that his car may have struck her vehicle and motioned out his window for her to pull over. Once pulled over, the suspect displayed a knife and went through the victim's purse, stealing cash and an iPad.

The suspect fled in a mid-sized red vehicle, of unknown make and model, Binder's statement said. 

The woman, a Los Altos Hills resident, was not injured.

Sheriff's Office deputies canvassed the area for the suspect, and the Sheriff's helicopter was also used in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the suspect from above. 

The suspect, who appeared to be in his 30s, had light-to-medium complexion, wore a brown goatee and spoke with a slight Spanish accent, the Sheriff's report said. He was of medium height and build, and dressed in a gray sweatshirt with a hood, and blue jeans.

Miranda Road is a half-mile stretch in a relatively busy part of Los Altos Hills. It intersects with Fremont Road, not far from Gardner Bullis School and just a short distance from Town Hall.

Nonetheless, some parts of the road are  secluded, said Lt. Don Morrissey of the Sheriff's Department on Thursday. The Sheriff's Office is increasing patrols in the area and are available to address concerns of local residents. 

"The further you get down Miranda it's more isolated," Morrissey said. 

While the community has seen a rise in auto and home burglaries during the economic downturn, armed robberies are extremely rare in Los Altos Hills, Lt. Morrissey said. "I just cannot recall the last armed robbery in this area," it is so rare. 

The Sheriff's Office recommended that drivers facing similar requests, or are flagged down by strangers, to consider driving to a populated area with plenty of people and lighting, such as a gas station or local police station. 

The Sheriff's Office recommended that drivers always be observant of their surroundings, and if they call 911 they should be prepared to give their location to the dispatcher, along with any descriptive information regarding the person flagging them down, including a license plate if available.   

As always, the community should be vigilant to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, the Sheriff's Office advisory said.

"In all honesty, we've seen an increase in burglaries with the economy," Lt. Morrissey said. "But we get lulled into a false security because we do live in great communities."

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