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.
“I’ve been there 24 years and this is the first time I’ve heard of anything like this happening,” said Keith Garcia, a BART police officer and union president.
Alicia Trost, a BART spokeswoman, said Monday that seven people were robbed — with the victims losing a purse, a duffel bag and five phones. Six people were robbed inside the train car, with a seventh confronted on the platform, she said. Police received no reports of guns or other weapons being brandished.
A police summary prepared after the incident said that at least two victims suffered injuries to the face or head that required medical attention.
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.
Trost said 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. A BART police sergeant and an officer were in the station’s back parking lot on patrol when the station was stormed, Trost said. They were the first to arrive at the concourse after the crime was reported.