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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pepper-Spraying Pricks Busted for Allegedly Swiping Cellphones From BART Riders

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 2:45 PM

The dangers of texting while on transit
  • The dangers of texting while on transit

We already know about the dangers of texting while driving, and yesterday we enlightened readers with information explaining how distracted pedestrians are pretty dumb, too. And texting while on transit? Well, that's just inviting a criminal to take the empty seat next to you.

But if you happened to be one of those transit victims, BART has some good news for you: The agency says it has arrested two juveniles suspected in a string of "grab and go" thefts of cellphones on San Francisco trains. On July 18, BART police finally caught up with the two suspects after they allegedly snatched an iPhone from the hands of a rider on BART and ran out of the Balboa station.

The victim and two other witnesses chased after the robbers, who busted out pepper spray, and doused one of the witnesses, according to BART. Another witness saw the action and called the cops, who arrested the kids on suspicion of grand theft and assault with a deadly weapon.

Here's how they operated: The suspects would board a train and walk the aisles searching for the perfect victim -- probably someone who is texting and listening to headphones. The suspects would sit in two different seats so they didn't draw attention, yet they still had eye contact with one another. They would give each other a signal to go, and one of them would grab the phone and run.

Anytime someone chased them, the robbers would pepper-spray them.

BART police say most of these thefts took place on trains near the Balboa Park, Glen Park, 16th Street, and 24th Street stations. So if you were a victim of this cowardly crime, BART is asking you to contact its Investigations Division at (510) 464-7040 -- assuming you got a new phone.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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