A routine ride on BART over the weekend turned into utter chaos when roughly 40 to 60 juveniles stormed a train in Oakland and committed multiple robberies, according to the transit agency.
The crime spree occurred Saturday night when the unarmed youngsters hopped fare gates at the Coliseum Station and jumped onto a train bound for Dublin, according to BART and witness accounts. Within seconds, the juveniles grabbed purses, snatched cellphones and left at least two victims with face and head injuries, according to BART.
The minors managed to escape moments after raiding passengers on the train and station platform, BART officials said.
A total of seven robberies were reported, officials said. One purse and a duffel bag were seized along with five phones. All but one of the robberies happened on the train.
"To have it happen all at once, obviously it was a coordinated (incident). They knew why they were coming to the station," BART sopeswoman Alicia Trost said.
Trost said it's become common for groups of teens to rush onto BART trains and steal what they can grab. But what's unusual about this incident is the size of the group, she said.
"It is something that occurs frequently enough that we know it’s a problem, and we are working with law enforcement," she said.
An investigation into the crime spree is ongoing. Police are reviewing surveillance footage in hopes of identifying the individuals involved.
Because the suspects are believed to be minors, BART said it won’t be releasing the surveillance video. But they will be sharing the images with all local school districts to try to identify the suspects.
Commuters are hoping BART does something to increase security.
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"I’m kind of scared now, how easily can that happen," BART rider Karla Nunez said. "Wasn’t it supervised at all? It concerns me."
Rider Emily Rameriz agreed, saying BART should at least have "a security guard roaming around" stations to make sure it doesn't happen again.
BART said it will be increasing patrols and working with other agencies to track down the suspects.