Robbery on Richmond Train Last Night

504 to Richmond's picture

During my ride from Montgomery to Richmond (the 5:19, alas, not the 5:04), there were a group of thugs walking through the train over and over. They were noisy, pushing past people on a crowded train to go back and forth. All I could think was "this can't be good." When the train arrived at Del Norte, I noticed that one of them had stationed himself by my exit door and the others were at the other door. When the door opened, we started going down the stairs, he bounded past everyone, jumped the fare gates and onto a bus. A woman screamed from the top of the stairs "Get the POLICE! They got my wallet!"

So here's my question for Officer Jo-Jo and Shrapnel. I had a very uneasy feeling about these thugs from the get-go - should I have called BART police and reported this? And if so, what would have been the best way to describe this? Now, in hindsight, I'm kicking myself for not reporting them the second time they walked through my car, giving people dirty looks, or at the very least not getting their photo on my phone to give to the police. So a little guidance as to what constitutes behavior reportable to BART police would be appreciated.


I'm not sure about the effectiveness of the on board surveillance cameras, but maybe they were able to get a glimpse?

Officer Jo-Jo's picture

We have gotten similar calls for this behavior. A typical passenger would not push through a crowded train several times. When a "group of thugs" are pushing back and forth through the train several times, they are most likely looking for a victim. Pay attention to what they are looking at. If they are looking at purses, bags, laptops or people with i-phones, they are most likely preparing to do the grab and run you described. As for guys at the train doors, they are slowing everyone down so the guy with the wallet can get away.

We typically refer to this behavior as casing. Most of the time our calls are for people casing vehicles in the lot but with the increase in robberies nowadays, we get a few casing for a robbery calls.

Just the fact they were creating a disturbance and pushing people is enough for us to respond. Believe me, I respond to plenty of calls that I would classify as chickens#!t. This behavior is far from chickens#!t. Please call us!

1-887-679-7000 then press 0 for BART Police Dispatch or 1-510-464-7000 rings directly without having to press anything.

The best descriptions have something unique about the person. For instance the other night I got a call for a guy wearing a Hard Rock Cafe jacket. That was the only description but it was good. If they had said just a black leather jacket, there might be four people on the train matching. Also look for any shirts under jackets because jackets disappear quickly.

We typically describe suspects in the following format: race, gender, height, weight and clothing from head to toe. I always ask the reporting party for one unique feature of the suspect. That information has allowed me to sort through several people wearing the black sweatshirts and jeans. Unique shoes are great. There is not enough time for a bad guy to change shoes.

Shrapnel's picture

I agree with Officer Jo-Jo, he pretty much summed it up. But I would like to add one more thing: if you are in doubt, or feel uneasy, don't hesitate to call it in. Time would much rather be spent on proactive policing than reactive response. Better safe than sorry. If in doubt - call it in.

Sorry for all the cliches.

Better not do this--lawyers will be ready to scream "racial profiling".

For the $300,000 salary and the rest of Linton Johnson's employment package that BART pays him to deliver his stale b.s. BART reports and schmooze, BART could hire three police officers dedicated to ride the trains, one for each line.

3? 1 for each line?

Pittsburgh Bay Point

That's cold. We're just letting Richmond go to the wolves?