Pepper Spray Bandits Strike SF

Thieves targeting pedestrians on cell phones

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Five San Francisco robberies in two days have involved the irritant.

    Pepper spray is usually used against robbers, but now a team of robbers is using it against their victims.

    Five attacks on Wednesday and Thursday night have prompted San Francisco police to go undercover to catch the thieves.

    The robbers attacked in groups of one to four, pepper-spraying pedestrians then grabbing their loot.

    They stole cell phones, wallets, purses, credit cards, a backpack, an ipod and cash before running or driving away, police said.

    "Victims have been using their smartphones or not being really alert to what's going on," San Francisco Police Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield said.

    Victims include a 41-year-old woman in the Mission, a 26-year-old man in the Lower Haight, a 29-year-old woman on Nob Hill, a 28-year-old woman in Pacific Heights and a 45-year-old woman in Cow Hollow.

    Three attacks on Wednesday happened from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and two attacks on Thursday happened just ten minutes apart starting at 9:40 p.m.

    Fortunately for the robbers, police don't have a description of them because the victims can't see after being pepper-sprayed.

    So lay off all that texting while walking at night and keep an eye out.