Three men arrested last Friday stand accused of terrorizing the Bay Area with a string of 23 separate armed robberies of bars and restaurants. Police have yet to confirm if they believe that the same men robbed a bar on 17th and Folsom on the April 15, but outwardly it appears to be the case (although in that incident there were two reported robbers, not three). So reports Bay City News, which notes that the men were nabbed when they attempted to rob the same bar for the third time in less than a month.
According to a report issued by the Berkeley Police Department, businesses subject to the "take-over" style robberies were spread throughout Berkeley, San Francisco, San Leandro, Albany, Oakland, and Hayward. "It became clear based on the suspects’ calm demeanor, and video evidence obtained from the victim businesses that a comprehensive effort would be required to apprehend them," reads the report. "A task force was established involving Police Departments from the cities listed above with support from the Oakland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Police say that the men attempted to rob The Bar on Dolores Street for the third time in under a month on the evening of April 22. The Bar was first robbed on March 27, and then a second time a few days later. SFPD, thinking the group might come back, had the bar under surveillance. They were then able to apprehend the men when, perhaps thinking their third time would be the charm, they reportedly returned.
The three men arrested are 18-year-old Kristoffer Jones of Albany, 40-year-old Shawan Spragans of Oakland, and 46-year-old Merl Simpson of Oakland.
Chris Nobbie, who works at Bernal Pizza — one of the restaurants robbed — appeared happy to know the alleged robbers are off the street. "It's definitely a relief they caught them and we don't have to worry about them coming back," Nobbie told Bay City News.