Crooks targeting students carrying electronic gear

SAN JOSE, Calif.

It's becoming more common to hear of passengers being robbed of their cell phones while riding public transit, but it appears the new targets are students on campus. As soon as classes are over, students at Silver Creek High leave campus with cell phones in hand, ear buds dangling from their heads, and possibly tablets and laptops in their backpacks.

For the most part, they're oblivious that they're potential crime targets. "Because people show it around and like, brag about it. So they're just asking for like, getting it stolen," student Aleena Tran told ABC7 News.

That's what happened to a female student Wednesday. She was robbed of a laptop by a man in his 20s, brandishing what appeared to be a handgun.

"The criminals that are out just to take a quick snatch, they're not looking. They know what they're looking for. It doesn't matter what you do, whether you put it in a backpack, or you're hiding it, no," said parent Linda Keefer.

The robber got away. Police have been checking out surveillance video as cameras are trained all over the campus, but no one will confirm the crime was caught on tape.

Principal Adolfo Laguna says the risk of hold-ups could grow as textbooks are replaced by electronic books. "A lot of times, they're not cognizant of what's happening because they're walking, texting, and they're easy targets because someone can just walk by, grab at the phone and run," he said.

Security has been beefed up. Strangers are being questioned and asked to leave school grounds. Student Ann Nguyen says she feels safe. "I still feel safe. I'm going to be more cautious," she said.

A male classmate was hit on the head by a blunt instrument when he came to the girl's rescue. He required hospital treatment but was released.

Asked if the student did the right thing, Laguna said, "As a teenager, all he thought about is my friend is in danger. I'm going to help. And that's what good Samaritans do. Unfortunately, sometimes the good Samaritans are injured because of trying to help. That's what happened in this case."

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