40-60 teens pull off train heist in major U.S. city


UPDATE: Videos have been added to this story from local news reports, which indicate that this is not the first time mobs of youths have robbed the train.  In fact, it’s the third time this has occurred recently.   

Dozens of juveniles swarmed into a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Oakland, California, Saturday night, overtook a train car, and beat and robbed passengers, leaving multiple victims with head injuries.

The incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. at the Coliseum Station when, witnesses reported, 40 to 60 juveniles surged into station, jumping the fare gates and racing to the second-story train platform. Some members of the group held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while the rest entered, accosting, robbing and beating riders.

A police summary of the incident noted that the juveniles “committed multiple strong-arm robberies of bags and cell phones. At least two victims suffered head/facial injuries requiring medical attention.”

On Monday, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost reported that seven robberies had occurred. Items taken included a purse, a duffel bag and five phones. Six robberies took place inside the train car, and another occurred on the platform.

The attack was perpetrated quickly, allowing the teens to escape the station and disappear into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond. The train carrying the victims was held for approximately 15 minutes while injured victims received assistance and authorities investigated the crime.

“We are in the process of pulling all surveillance video and we will share with Oakland police, Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Housing Authority to see if they can help identify the minors,” Trost said. “We have had success with sharing images of juveniles with this group and identifying and making arrests in the past.”

Trost noted that the videos cannot be made public due to the apparent minor status of the offenders.

Several robberies have occurred on BART trains in recent weeks, prompting the agency to increase security.

Saturday’s incident will likely create additional challenges for BART, which hired a new police chief last week. Fare evaders continue to stymie the agency which is in the process of installing surveillance cameras in train cars following a report in The Chronicle claiming that most of the existing cameras were decoys.

H/T: San Francisco Chronicle


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