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Police are looking into whether three teenagers arrested on a path near the El Cerrito Plaza BART station last week are responsible for several recent cellphone robberies in the area. Officers arrested the teens — two 17-year-old boys from Richmond and a 16-year-old boy from San Pablo — on Thursday after an El Cerrito police officer caught them in an alleged robbery attempt near the BART station, police said. The officer was conducting undercover surveillance on a BART pathway near Eureka Avenue and saw them running after someone, police said.
Unable to catch up to that person, the teens targeted another bypasser, with one suspect hiding behind a BART pillar while the other two approached the victim from behind, police said. Fearing for the victim’s safety, the officer called on other officers in the area to detain the three suspects. They were taken into custody. In an incident on Tuesday, four people approached two male college students walking home from the BART station in the 600 block of Liberty Street.
A suspect pushed one of the students, causing him to drop his cellphone on the ground, police said. The suspect picked up the phone and shoved the second student to the ground as he attempted to run away, police said. All four suspects then fled before officers arrived. On Wednesday, three juveniles reportedly knocked a man off of his bicycle on the Lincoln Avenue BART path, causing his cellphone to fall to the ground.
One of the suspects snatched the phone and ran away, according to police. Police have not confirmed whether the teens arrested Thursday were responsible for those robberies. All of the robberies remain under investigation.
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