Police obtain video of attempted robbery involving note on BART train

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BART police have obtained and reviewed surveillance video of an attempted robbery Saturday afternoon on a Dublin-bound train in which a suspect used a note to threaten a passenger to give up her wallet and phone,
BART officials said today. 

At 4:51 p.m. the victim told police that she was riding a train in San Francisco when someone handed her a note that said guns were pointed at her and she should give her wallet and phone to the person behind her without turning around.

After reviewing surveillance video from the train, BART officials today said the video evidence corroborates the victim's report. The video shows the suspect sitting behind the victim, who was sitting alone. 

Julie, a 32-year-old Oakland resident and employee of Sega in San Francisco, did not want to share her last name. She was traveling from Daly City.

“I didn’t know who was behind me. I had no idea who this person was, and whether they had a gun.. Or two guns.”

She said she was looking down at her phone when someone behind her dropped a note in her lap which read, in part, “There are two guns pointed at you now.  If you want to live, hand back your wallet and phone now and do not turn around.”

Julie said there were about 15 other people in the train car.  She says she was able to make eye contact with a man sitting in front of her and she mouthed the word “help.”

“I think he noticed. He pointed to his phone and I believe he was going to call the police,” Julie said.  But when the man got off the train, Julie said she made a split decision to fake a seizure.

“I felt very vulnerable and aware of the fact that [the person] was within reach of my head because they were right behind me. So I slumped to the side and pretended to have a seizure/pass out   I could hear people saying is that girl okay and so I started shaking harder... the couple came over and I showed them the note,” Julie said.

In the commotion, Julie said she looked up and saw who she believed was the person who wrote the note, exiting the train at Powell Station.  She described the suspect as a middle-aged white woman with blonde hair, wearing dark clothing, with a rolling suitcase.  Julie said the woman appeared to be a transient.

Deputy Chief Lance Haight said in the video officers can see something that could be the note in question. BART Police says there is no indication from the video the suspect had any weapons. 

BART says it has working cameras on all of its trains and the agency is now checking the footage.  BART police officers have already examined footage from the platform, and did not find anything suspicious, according to an agency spokesperson.

Images of the suspect show her as a white woman, possibly in her 30s with long strawberry blonde hair.

The suspect is not known to BART police. Police sent a notice to other police departments to see if officers at any other departments know her. 

Any witnesses or anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call BART police at (510) 464-7040.