Robbery Suspect Steals Cell Phone From El Cerrito High Student, Uploads Selfies on Cloud: Police

Update: El Cerrito police announced Thursday they received multiple tips identifying the suspect as Tasja Dowell, 18, “possibly a resident of Richmond.” An arrest warrant has been issued for Dowell for robbery and child abuse, police said.

A young woman who police suspect stealing a cell phone from an El Cerrito High student allegedly snapped off some selfies.

And then she uploaded them to the victim’s iCloud.

Now, detectives say they know who to look for in their investigation of the Nov. 5 robbery.

The selfies surfaced after a girl at El Cerrito High was walking on Central Avenue near Clayton Avenue at about 1 p.m. while talking on her cell phone. At that point, Detective Sgt. Ian Wong said a Japanese-looking, tan car pulled up alongside the high schooler. Inside, were four men and one young woman. The female suspect, later pictured in the selfies, got out of the car and demanded the student give up her phone and backpack, Wong said. The student refused. So the suspect punched her in the head, causing her fall to the ground and lose consciousness, Wong said.

The suspect then stole the student’s phone from her hand, and dragged her a short distance by her backpack, Wong said. Once getting the backpack off the girl, the suspect got back in the car and fled, Wong said.

The student was treated at the scene and taken to the hospital, Wong said.

Several days later, Wong said the student noticed the female suspect took several selfies, which were then uploaded to the victim's online cloud storage. The student was able to capture the images, which she told police was the same person who attacked her.

The El Cerrito Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying the young woman depicted in the photograph. Anyone with information about the robbery or the suspect is asked to call (510) 215-4400.

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