Police say they've nabbed most of the members of the “Downtown Mocosos,” a crew of 11- to 17-year-olds that authorities say is responsible for armed robberies throughout downtown San Jose.
San Jose robbery detectives gave the crew the moniker. “Mocoso” is Spanish slang for a snot-nosed kid.
The crime spree started in January, police say, between 1st and Fourth streets, and Santa Clara and San Fernando streets.
Police say the crew’s members range in age from 11 to 17 years old. And they warn there might be more of them out there.
“Even though they were young, they were dangerous and they were committing very egregious crimes in the downtown area,” San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol said.
Their modus operandi was always the same, according to police: look for a woman walking downtown and one of the Downtown Mocosos would try to start up a conversation.
“There were some cases reported where they would make comments to the female victim in a flirtatious manner, catching them off guard when another suspect would approach and physically assault the victim," Randol said.
In most cases, the flirting suspect was a male, and the attackers were female.
The department credits good police work and the collaboration between patrol officers and the robbery unit for recognizing the M.O., nabbing most of the Mocosos.
The suspects are being charged with at least one violent carjacking and numerous strong arm robberies.
Police are still trying to determine if the Mocosos are part of a larger gang, or if they were trying to form their own gang
Police believe there may be a couple more members of the Mococos on the loose. The 11-year-old was cited and released to his parents. The rest are at juvenile hall, and one of them could be tried as an adult.