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BART Video Shows Thief Snatching Cellphone

In a dramatic reminder to riders to be alert, BART on Friday announced the posting of surveillance video showing a thief snatching an unsuspecting patron's cellphone at the Oakland 12th Street station and fleeing up the escalator.

BART has posted surveillance video of a thief grabbing the cellphone of a passenger on a station platform and then fleeing up an escalator and leaping over fare gates.

The public release of the dramatic footage taken Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Oakland 12th Street Station was intended to "to remind riders to always be aware of their surroundings, day or night," BART said in a news release Friday.

The accompanying video, which BART posted to YouTube, is in three parts.

The crime was reported at 1:38 p.m., and in less than hour, BART police arrested Trevel Thomas, 20, at the Powell Street Station, according to BART.

"BART is able to release this video because Thomas confessed to the crime and this case is now closed," the transit agency said. Thomas was booked into the Glen Dyer Jail in Oakland and charged with robbery by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, according to BART.

“Smartphone thefts are on the rise nationwide, so we are hoping this video will serve as a clear reminder for riders to remain alert and aware of your belongings and surroundings,” BART police spokeswoman Era Jenkins said in a statement.  “We encourage passengers to hold their belongings close to their bodies and make eye contact with those nearby. Be extra cautious when standing near quick escape routes like escalators, stairs and train doors.”

BART also offered these crime prevention tips:

  • Keep wallets and electronics secure – use purses or bags with zippered compartments
  • Avoid carrying your wallets or other valuables in back pockets
  • Be wary of someone trying to create a distraction, such as dropping coins or bumping into you – some pickpockets work in teams
  • Don’t leave anything – from small change to shopping bags – in your vehicle for thieves to see
  • Report suspicious activity to BART Police at (510) 464-7000
  • Program the BART police number above into your mobile phone so you can call it quickly from almost anywhere in the BART system
Alvin Mabuhay December 16, 2012 at 07:32 AM
"BART is able to release this video because Thomas confessed to the crime and this case is now closed," the transit agency said. So...the logical take from this statement is that the video would not have been released if the suspect had not confessed? If so, that seems foolish. And to characterize this as "dramatic" footage is a bit dramatic. Is not as dramatic as it is all too common. Hey public, be careful now not to racially profile!
Tom December 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Even quoting decades of DOJ criminal statistical data can get you in trouble now.
Paula Greenleaf December 18, 2012 at 02:08 AM
The perp looks Black, but in California the largest ethnic group in our state prisons is the Latinos. To be more accurate and representative we should show more. Latino criminals in these videos.
Susan Diaz December 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Cell phone companies refuse to implement a national database of stolen phones which would pretty much stop theft of smartphones. If you were unable to activate a phone which had been stolen, there is no reason to steal them. Most other countries have this, but not the US. http://www.schoolanduniversity.com/ Likely reason is that they make money off of a stolen phone’s activation and monthly service and get to double dip on the replacement phone. That’s the real crime.
Nadja Adolf January 10, 2013 at 09:31 AM
It is a lot safer to not ride public transit. Nothing makes my day like not dealing with drunks, gangsters, thieves, and noisy, abusive people early in the morning. All of this pressure to ride mass transit, blaming consumer resistance to an imaginary "love affair with the automobile" - when the real problem is that mass transit doesn't go most of the places people wish to go and is full of thugs.
Tim January 10, 2013 at 09:46 AM
Do you have a citation to back that up or do you just enjoy making racist comments? I see plenty of white trash hanging out in public places that I choose to avoid too. When I see degenerates in the area no matter what race, I'm crossing to the other side of the street.
Tim January 10, 2013 at 09:48 AM
Mostly the fact that the BART cars are packed with thugs as are the dimly lit parking lots you have to power walk through with your fingers crossed that you'll get to your car before being jumped. Yea, I'll give up my car and take BART, just as soon as I'm allowed to carry my weapon in this state. Better yet, when I retire I'll more to one of the 40 plus states that still respect the Constitution and allow their citizens to defend themselves.
Tim January 10, 2013 at 09:51 AM
I think they just mean that if he didn't confess they wouldn't release the tape yet because they wouldn't want to compromise an ongoing investigation. That's not to say it wouldn't be released at the conclusion of the case against the jackass.
Alvin Mabuhay January 10, 2013 at 10:03 AM
@Tim: My point being, that the tape should have been released from the outset to assist the investigation. How exactly would the case have been compromised if the suspect did not confess? This is what we call a "no-brainer"
Nadja Adolf January 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM
I agree, Tim. Being mugged or groped first thing in the morning just isn't my cup of tea.
James Nelson January 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM
There is a Simple Solution to this Parking Lot Thug problem and no it's not hiring more Security whom will just ignore the situation and earn a paycheck for doing nothing. I'm talking about DRONES BABY! One or two Automated Drones which are confined to a Single Perimeter such as the BART Parking Lot and Armed with Non Lethal Weapons should be an effective Deterrent for getting Groped or Mugged. Those with Privacy Concerns can save it, as BART is Private Property! Don't want to be Filmed? Don't set foot on the Property. Simple as that. Because BART maintains it's own Recognized Police Force, they can make use of the Shockwave Perimeter Denial System offered by The Taser Maker. No more Punks creeping in the Shadows, if anything they'll be running away and just might get hit in Traffic (One can only hope).
Josh Goldman January 10, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Fact: most criminals in the El Cerrito area are black.
Alvin Mabuhay January 10, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Love it James!
Chris J Kapsalis January 10, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Males 14-24 years old commit the most crimes, no matter the race. Here is a good article about why more Blacks are arrested than whites. Blacks and White Sell drugs, use drugs at about the same rate, yet Blacksa are 12 times more likely to go to prison than Whites on average. Same rate? Why then are they arrested and go to prison so much more than whites are? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-rushing/the-reasons-why-so-many-b_b_883310.html
Paul D January 10, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Charles leaves and the place turns into a racist redneck gun-happy cesspool.
Alvin Mabuhay January 10, 2013 at 03:25 PM
@Chris-a "good article"?? Hardly!! It drew so many unsubstantiated claims, as is often the case with the Huffington Post. It claimed that whites/blacks use/sell drugs the same-without any supportive evidence, other than they just claimed it. Then the article references one person's ride along and infers the cop was racist because he stopped a black woman. Clearly an article that set out to prove a point the author was predetermined to conclude.

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