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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

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