OAKLAND, CA — According to police, shortly after 9:30 in the evening Saturday night, a large number of teens commandeered at least one train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones, and leaving at least two with head injuries.
The incident took place at the Oakland Coliseum BART station. Witnesses say between 40 and 60 teens hopped the gate and rushed the platform.
Authorities say the incident was the first of its kind and lasted about 60 seconds. The suspects were able to escape before the police arrived.
Regular commuters BA spoke to say personal safety is a big concern for them when on BART — and this type of robbery, for them, was shocking.
“Once or twice there have been some people on the MUNI, and sometimes on BART where I just need to keep my stuff close to me,” said commuter Jasmyne Foo. “I make sure to keep my hands on my pockets when I have stuff in it. And I also carry things that are sharp just in case.”
“There’s a lot of like weird people that come on and they might be harmless, but they kind of give you weird vibes… so sometimes I just be more cautious when that happens,” said commuter Justine Iorga. “I like to get everything I need out of my bag before I get on. I usually zip up my bag. I’ll have one earphone in, one earphone out… just so I can hear and be aware, and keep my head up and look around.”
According to reports, there was no BART police officer at the Oakland Coliseum station when the robbery occurred, and it took five minutes for the authorities to arrive on scene.
These commuters say they have mixed feelings when it comes to their confidence in BART police.
According to a BART press release, BART created additional overtime shifts for officers to patrol stations.
The footage from the train and station cameras are being distributed among local law enforcement agencies, as well as school districts, where BART has had previous success in arresting juveniles who committed crimes on the train.
The footage will not be released to the public at this time, due to the young age of the suspects.