Teen suspects steal phones, purses from TriMet riders

The thefts have occurred over the last 3 months

A MAX train at the Convention Center platform, May 25, 2015 (KOIN)
A MAX train at the Convention Center platform, May 25, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A group of teenagers are responsible for stealing backpacks, purses and smartphones from TriMet riders over the last 3 months, KOIN 6 News has learned.

Portland and Transit Police said they’ve arrested some of the suspects and expect to make more arrests as soon as next week.

Police said the suspects — between 5 and 8 juveniles — stole unsecured or unattended items from people. There have also been reports that the suspects took items by force, but have not used any weapons.

The Transit Police Division is working with the Portland Police Bureau Detective Division’s Robbery Detail to identify and locate all the suspects believed to be responsible for these crimes. Officials have received information from victims and witnesses as well as video footage.

Due to the incidents, officials have increased patrols in the areas affected by these crimes.

Majority of the incidents are believed to have occurred on the transit system serving 82nd Avenue and between the Rose Quart Transit Center and Gateway Transit Center.

KOIN 6 News reached out to TriMet, but they have not yet responded

Tips from police while riding public transit

  • Be aware of their surroundings. If you feel uneasy or threatened, move to another area of the vehicle or another train car and alert the operator or call 9-1-1.
  • Stay awake and alert as you travel – know where you are and where you are going.
  • Maintain close control of your belongings. Do not put your purse, shopping bag or backpack on the seat next to you. Keep them in your lap, under your arm or between your feet.
  • Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or electronic devices.
  • The police bureau encourages everyone to be an observant witness. If you observe behavior that violates TriMet rules or the law, contact fare inspectors or police. Contact 9-1-1 if you observe a crime.
  • If you are the victim of a crime, please evaluate the benefit of confronting the suspect. Often times, providing police with a good description of the suspect and the direction the left the scene is the safest for everyone.
  • If you are a witness to a crime, please remain on-scene or provide the emergency call-taker with your contact information so officers may contact you at a later time. Anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a person who commits a crime on TriMet may receive up to $1,000.00 reward provided by TriMet.