SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KTVU) - San Leandro police say they arrested four male juveniles this week for more than 22 armed robberies across the Bay Area.
The series of robberies began in January in downtown Oakland. By the end of the month, police said the teens had committed 19 robberies. Four of them were in San Leandro.
After hours of surveillance, detectives broke through with a lead this week when they began investigating addresses, which led them to a vehicle allegedly used in several of the crimes.
On Wednesday a team of patrol officers, detectives, a K-9 unit and a drone began a surveillance operation on the suspect vehicle, according to police. Police said they saw the suspects steal a license plate from a vehicle, place it on their own and began an hours-long process of casing banks and ATM machines in Livermore and Dublin before returning to Alameda County.
All four suspects, ages 16 and 17, were taken into custody that night when at around 10:30 p.m. they stopped at a San Leandro gas station on San Leandro Boulevard and Davis Street. Google Maps shows a Chevron Station at that location.
Police said when they approached the suspect vehicle, one of the suspects fled. Police chased him, but he was detained shortly after. He was allegedly carrying a handgun. Another suspect allegedly tried to fight with police, he was also detained with "little force". The driver of the vehicle was taken into custody and a second firearm was found inside the vehicle.
A fourth suspect was later arrested at his home in Hayward.
Police characterized the crimes as "violent" and were shocked that they were committed by teenagers. In one incident they said a man was robbed at gunpoint for cash and other valuables before they stole his vehicle. The teens then crashed the victim's vehcile before abandoning it after the collision.
Police said the juveniles are cooperating with the investigation and have even confessed to many of the robberies. They are in custody at Alameda County Juvenile Hall.