Demian Bulwa and Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, April 24, 2017
BART police are beefing up patrols at Oakland stations after dozens of juveniles terrorized riders Saturday night when they invaded the Coliseum Station and commandeered at least one train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries.
The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told police that 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.
Police received no reports of guns or other weapons being brandished.
The attack was so quick, police reported, that the teenagers were able to retreat from the station and vanish into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond. The train was held for about 15 minutes as authorities interviewed victims and witnesses and tended to the injured.
Police arrived at the station in less than 5 minutes, but that the robberies took place in just seconds.
BART police had increased the number of officers patrolling Oakland stations Saturday night because of a recent rise in the number of police calls.
Six of the nine cars on the train had working surveillance cameras, and BART police were viewing video from those cars as well as station cameras, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. Since many victims and witnesses were unsure which car they were on, and didn’t know if the swarm had entered other cars, BART police are reviewing video from all working cameras. All BART trains are scheduled to be equipped with working cameras by the end of June.
“We are in the process of pulling all surveillance video, and we will share with Oakland police, Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Housing Authority to see if they can help identify the minors,” Trost said. “We have had success with sharing images of juveniles with this group and identifying and making arrests in the past.”
The images cannot be shared publicly, she said, because the attackers appear to be minors.