The swarm robbery by a large group of teenagers that occurred at BART's Coliseum Station Saturday night continues to make the local news as KRON 4, CBS 5, and NBC Bay Area all bring updates from BART police about their investigation. BART says that they've identified some of the 40 to 60 suspects in the case using surveillance footage, and are working with Oakland police to write arrest warrants and identify more suspects.
According to the Chronicle, some of the suspects were known to BART police already "from prior incidents." Says BART spokesperson Alicia Trost, "We know who they are. We've identified them. But we still have to work with witnesses."
Based on in-train footage, BPD has identified multiple suspects from Saturday's robbery. Arrest warrants are being drafted as we speak.— SFBART (@SFBART) April 26, 2017
BART has been facing heightened criticism for their response to the egregious robbery, in which seven people had belongings stolen but multiple others were roughed up by the marauding teens. It would be two full days before the news was widely publicized, and the BART says that the attack happened so quickly in about two minutes that BART police did not have time to respond before the group dispersed and fled the scene.
According to NBC Bay Area, the topic will be front and center at an evening meeting of BART's board of directors, scheduled back in December, which is happening tonight (Thursday) at 5 p.m. Board president Rebecca Saltzman suggests that capital improvements could be made like "making the barriers higher so people can't jump over them, doing some things with the fare gate to make it harder."
But one young woman who was similarly attacked aboard a BART train in Oakland two months ago came forward to KRON 4 this week suggesting that BART's response has been feeble at best, and she doubts her case was ever properly investigated.
Tess Pawlisch says a group of teens were horsing around aboard a car she was on in February, and she had been ignoring them, until she was violently punched in the head, she says, by a teen girl who quickly fled the train. The train operator was notified by witnesses, but the incident was not immediately reported to BART police and the train just moved on. Pawlisch says she reported it the following day and met with a BART police officer at the station, but months later several witnesses she's remained in touch with had not been contacted by police.
Referring to Saturday's mass robbery, Pawlisch tells KRON 4, "Reading about this violent attack that happened to me and how the response immediately afterward was so terrible, and they could’ve done so much more was really upsetting."