BAY AREA -- Police have arrested two teenage thieves suspected of a series of "grab and go" cell phone robberies on BART trains, including one in which they are accused of using pepper spray on people who tried to stop them.

BART police said cell phones have been taken from riders on trains near the Balboa Park, Glen Park, 16th Street and 24th Street stations in San Francisco but there could have been thefts on East Bay trains that went unreported. Police would like to hear from additional victims.

"We are asking other customers who may have been victimized in a similar manner to let BART investigators know," said BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey.

On July 18, two teens stole an iPhone from a rider, who got off the train and -- along with two other witnesses -- chased the juveniles through the Balboa Park station. Police said the teens sprayed their pursuers with pepper spray in their attempt to escape.

The teenagers were arrested by San Francisco police and booked by BART police and now face charges of grand theft, assault, conspiracy to commit a crime, being minors in possession of pepper spray, and using the pepper spray in the commission of a crime, police said.

Police did not release their names, ages or hometowns.

Police are warning people about thieves who board a train, walk down the aisle searching for a victim, then sit down in different seats while continuing to watch a potential victim before swiping a phone.


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Police are encouraging anyone who has been a victim to call BART's investigations division at 510-464-7040.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.