Dozens of teenagers rush Oakland BART train, rob and beat passengers

The youngsters were spotted by witnesses hastily jumping over fare gates before boarding a Dublin-bound train just after 9:20 the Coliseum Station on San Leandro Street, according the BART Police Department.

Despite an increased presence at BART stations, a spokeswoman for the transit agency's police department said its extra officers were assigned to other stations when the Saturday robbery happened.

Trost said authorities are reviewing surveillance video from platform to identify the suspects.

A recent string of robberies on BART trains took a frightening turn when dozens of juveniles swarmed an Oakland station over the weekend and commandeered a train auto, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries, witnesses told the transit agency.

Police say a total of seven passengers were the victims of strong-arm robbery.

Authorities have arrested groups of teens for similar robberies at train stations in the past, she said.

"The moment the doors opened, that's when the group rushed inside, snatched the cell phones a bag and a purse and ran off", said Alicia Trost, BART spokesperson.

Two people were punched in the face, Trost said.

Trost said police arrived at the station in less than 5 minutes, but that the robberies took place in just seconds. The pressure rose after a recent exposé of the system by the Chronicle revealed that many of BART's train cameras were dummies meant as decoys and don't actually record anything.

Lin - one of the passengers victimized Saturday - said the episode and apparent lack of security cameras on trains has left her feeling uneasy about riding BART.

Lin, 27, who was on her way home from San Francisco, said passengers began screaming as the youths began grabbing items from people on the vehicle.

Six cars on the nine-car train had working cameras. "I've seen all kinds of things go on".

Despite the robberies, most BART riders continued to have their heads buried in their cell phones on Monday, but some have already taken steps to protect themselves.

  • Salvatore Jensen