Two teenage boys were arrested earlier this month after allegedly robbing a BART rider of a cellphone in San Francisco, a BART police spokeswoman said today. The boys, ages 14 and 17, were arrested by San Francisco police on July 18 near the Balboa Park station after taking an iPhone from a rider and fleeing, Officer Era Jenkins said. Jenkins called the incident a “snatch and go” crime of opportunity on an unsuspecting passenger. The victim and two other people gave chase but when of the people in pursuit got close, the suspects used pepper spray to get away, Jenkins said.
Another witness spotted the juveniles running and contacted police, Jenkins said. Officers responded and arrested the suspects. They were arrested on suspicion of grand theft from a person, assault, conspiracy to commit a crime and other charges, Jenkins said. BART police believe the two are connected to five other cellphone robberies this year, all on trains near the Balboa Park, Glen Park, 16th Street and 24th Street stations, Jenkins said.
In each crime, the suspects used pepper spray to fend off victims who resisted, she said. BART police encourage riders to be aware of their surroundings, use phones discreetly, avoid using a phone near the train car doors, and not to lend phones to strangers, Jenkins said.
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