Armed robbery one of five involving multiple suspects that Sacramento police responded to in a week

A January 7 armed robbery at one of the busiest light-rail stops in downtown Sacramento has left police trying to solve their fifth gun-related robbery in a week.

The incident happened at the corner of Eighth and O streets, a connection hub for Regional Transit’s gold and blue lines, as well as smaller neighborhood trains. According to police and the victim, whom SN&R is not identifying because the perpetrators remain at large, he withdrew cash from an ATM on the north side of Eighth Street around 7:35 p.m. The victim was retrieving his card when a stranger put a gun to his temple and ordered him to his knees, he said. The assailant then commanded the victim to “give it over” as a second perpetrator appeared and said, “Give us everything.”

The victim handed over his cash, wallet and cellphone. A member at the nearby Capital Athletic Club walked outside. Noticing a potential witness, the assailants took off running west toward Seventh Street. The victim used a phone at Capital Athletic to call police. Officers arrived minutes later, but the suspects had vanished.

“Our officers conducted a thorough canvass of the area,” said Sacramento police Sgt. Vance Chandler, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

The suspects are described as two African-American males in their late teens to early 20s.

The Police Department has officers assigned to RT stops. Chandler said they are aware of the January 7 robbery and will be monitoring to see if any similar crimes take place in the area. The waiting area at Eighth and O streets currently has obstructed views for an entire square block on its southwest corner, due to a major construction project that features tents, tarps, building materials and a long chain-link fence.

Chandler said he couldn’t comment directly about visibility issues at the stop, but cautioned all construction workers, RT riders and pedestrians in the area to remain alert.

“It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “People there should report anything suspicious.”

Some 784 robberies were reported in the city between January and September last year, according to the FBI; 129 happened in the downtown-central city area. Those incidents included both armed robberies and strong-arm robberies where no weapon was used. In the week leading up to the January 7 light rail incident, police responded to four other robberies involving firearms. Three were in north Sacramento and the other in South Sacramento. Each crime had reports of multiple suspects approaching people on foot. Chandler noted the robberies rate high when it comes to his department deploying resources.

“Anytime someone gets robbed at gunpoint in our city, it’s a priority for us,” he said.