Three suspects are in custody after an attempt to steal a San Francisco woman's iPad led to a high speed chase that ended in a spectacular crash. The three men plowed their silver Mercedes SUV into a Mazda minivan less than a mile from the scene of the theft, injuring the van's driver and a child playing on a nearby playground, who was struck by flying debris.
SF Gate.com reported that the robbery, which took place Wednesday night, is part of a string of robberies and assaults associated with iPads and iPhones.
"It's a chronic, chronic problem," said SFPD Captain Ann Mannix. "There is such a high resale value for iPads and iPhones - criminals are taking them left and right. And recently they're not just taking them, but they're assaulting people severely."
Mannix said that police are still piecing together Wednesday's exact chain of events, but so far it has been established that the thieves took the woman's bag in a crowded Peet's coffee around 5:00 p.m. in front of dozens of witnesses.
"We had 50,000 witnesses who saw it and called. They gave out a perfect description of the suspect vehicle."
As they fled the scene, the hapless robbers side-swiped a KPIX-TV news van. The TV crew contacted their assignment desk, and fellow news personnel were quickly despatched to follow the chase. The reporters had been on their way to cover a city forum at another nearby coffee shop concerning the recent uptick in cell phone and tablet thievery.
Police are searching for a motorcyclist who may have been struck by the getaway vehicle as the suspects sped by the parking lot of the SFPD's Norther Station.
"Smart move," said Capt. Mannix.
Multiple police units were in pursuit of the fleeing suspects when the Mercedes SUV struck two vehicles at an intersection, shoving one vehicle on to the sidewalk and sending debris flying toward a nearby playground. Two suspects tried to run, but were quickly apprehended by police. One man and the driver of the suspect vehicle were treated for injuries and taken into police custody.
Watch video about this story, embedded via San Francisco's KCBS, below: