Twice in a matter of days, Santa Rosa teens on BMX-style bicycles struck at two gas stations where attempts to steal beer and other items turned into violent melees involving as many as six people, according to law enforcement officials.
Three Santa Rosa teens, ages 13, 16 and 17, were arrested after Monday’s fight at an Arco station at Fourth Street and Brookwood Avenue. Two of those teens, the 13- and 16-year-old, also were arrested in connection with Saturday’s Roseland gas station robbery and fight, which resulted in injuries to the station’s co-owner and an employee. The teens now are being held in the Sonoma County juvenile lockup in east Santa Rosa.
The two gas stations are owned by the same family, and co-owner Kulwant Singh, 57, reportedly was a victim in both fights. Law enforcement officials on Tuesday said they were not sure whether the suspects knew the businesses were connected.
On Monday at about 2:30 p.m., a trio of males rode up on their bicycles and went into the Fourth Street Arco station, where one tried to take some beer, police Sgt. Marcus Sprague said.
An attempt to detain the teen turned into a fight that grew to involve the three teens against an owner and two employees, with store items flying off shelves during the struggle. One victim had multiple facial injuries, and another had swollen bumps on his head from being slammed into a wall, Sprague said. An employee’s glasses also were broken.
When police arrived, the three suspects were arrested on various charges involving their roles in the event, including petty theft, battery, vandalism and possession of stolen property, Sprague said.
While that was going on in east Santa Rosa, sheriff’s detectives were at the Roseland gas station, watching surveillance video of Saturday’s wild scuffle. In that fight, three suspects fought a golf-club-wielding owner and an employee who had come to his defense.
When detectives heard of a similar case happening across town, they headed to the other gas station, where the three teens were in custody. Detectives arrested the two in connection with their case. One was carrying a cellphone stolen in the Saturday incident, sheriff’s Lt. Carlos Basurto said.
In the prior incident, on Saturday at 5:39 p.m., three teens arrived at the Roseland station on small bikes. They attempted to steal food and one suspect grabbed an owner’s cellphone, according to sheriff’s Lt. Greg Miller. The owner tried to get his phone back, and a fight ensued.
The five grappled and fought for several minutes before the teens left the store and rode away. The employee suffered a broken hand and Singh had scratches and other minor injuries, Miller said.
The third suspect in Saturday’s case remained unidentified Tuesday.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @rossmannreport.