Police arrested four teenage boys in Fontana, California, in connection with 15 armed robberies in the area. Authorities said the juveniles — three 16-year-olds and a 13-year old — used airsoft guns and different getaway vehicles in a spree that spanned over several days.
What are the details?
Law enforcement accused the suspects of using realistic-looking airsoft guns to hold up unsuspecting pedestrians and steal from them. The victims were mostly women, who lost their purses, phones, and in one instance, shoes.
"Basically, they were looking for crimes of opportunity," Fontana Police Sgt. Brian McClane told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. "They were rolling around in these vehicles, looking for pedestrians who were either by themselves or maybe with one other person; looked like somebody that they could take advantage of, that there wasn't going to be much resistance from."
Investigators said the teens used a black BMW and a silver Infinity in the crimes, both of which were owned by one of their parents. According to police, the suspects may have also cruised in a Kia Soul while carrying out the robberies.
Several victims and witnesses came forward to report the muggings to law enforcement, but police believe there were more victims in the spree that lasted from July 23 through Aug. 6 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Fontana Police Department spokesman Officer Rajaie Sayegh said attacks occurred in Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and other Inland Empire cities.
Law enforcement recovered some items that were stolen, including wallets and purses.
Beatriz Valenzuela of the Southern California News Group reported that all of the victims believed the airsoft weapons used in the robberies were real. The recovered airsoft guns were displayed for the press, and Lt. Carlo Granillo of the Fontana Police Department told Valenzuela after the conference, "At first glance, you can't tell they're not real guns."
Officers said the airsoft guns might have been modified to give the appearance of being real firearms.