Home NEWS Local Scene Would-Be Laptop Snatcher Fended Off By Lafayette Coffee Shop Customers Monday

Would-Be Laptop Snatcher Fended Off By Lafayette Coffee Shop Customers Monday

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Car used in Monday's attempted laptop snatch in Lafayette.

An apparent attempt to snatch a laptop from a customer at a downtown Lafayette coffee house did not end as expected for the would-be thieves Monday.

Eyewitnesses and outright participants in what some described as a “battle Royale” on the street outside The Coffee Shop gave the following account of events:

“I was dining outside at Chow and this car pulled up (didn’t see from where) and stopped on Lafayette Circle facing northbound (towards roundup) right across from the Cooperage with 4 black male occupants,” one witness said Tuesday. “Two of them (teenagers or early 20s, 6 ft height, solid build) with dark pants and sweatshirts with hoods up got out and started walking down the sidewalk of “The Coffee Shop” looking at tables. Looked very out of place for a 90 degree day.”

Witnesses reported one of the men returning to the car while another “walked into the outdoor seating area and snatched a woman’s laptop and hit her in the face and started running back towards the car.”

A man in cyclist gear who was at the cafe physically tried to stop the attacker and another witness, who had seen the “set up” developing, jumped in – “dragging the guy to the ground and were trying to hold him down but he was strong and fighting hard to get away, then the other two passengers from the car (also black males in dark hoodies 6 foot-ish) ran over and started punching us to defend their robber accomplice.”

One Samaritan was punched in the face at least once. The “cyclist” apparently left the scene shortly after the assault and his condition was not known.

Witnesses said the three would-be thieves ran back to the car and the driver who was waiting gunned it at high speed past the Roundup and up Oak Hill towards the freeway, almost running over civilian rescuers.

“I think he ran the red light at Mt Diablo Boulevard,” one witness reported. “In the scuffle, the robber dropped the laptop and the girl got it back, so nothing was taken.”

One civilian participant summed the incident thusly:
“This was a violent attempted robbery in broad daylight in the middle of downtown Lafayette on Memorial Day. Totally crazy, brazen and methodical. The whole ordeal took under 2 mins. Cops showed up about 5 mins after. This was a “textbook” incident from what I’ve been seeing in the news lately: paper plates, young guys in hoodies, unsuspecting cafe patrons on laptops. Cops said its basically impossible to track down the vehicle since it has paper plates.”

20 COMMENTS

    • Too broad to be of any help at this time, Siobhan. Apparently investigators are reviewing in-store video in their effort to identify a suspect(s).

      • UPDATED with up-close-and-personal descriptions of the suspects from the people who grappled with them.

    • Not entirely certain, Alex. We know a resistance movement was born and rose up in defense of the victim though we are unsure if any blows were landed or if it was a tug of war over that laptop. We’re told some of the principles involved left the scene. We do not, however, believe there were any serious injuries.

  1. Wow. So much for your Memorial Day Observances. Kudos to those gentlemen for standing up but glad no one hurt in this.

    • Yes, we’re glad people chose to act and came to the defense of another, too, Tony – and while we know some of these scenarios have gone sideways with “reinforcements” jumping into the fray on behalf of the crooks, it does not take away from the honor of the deed.

  2. CA legislators should consider legislation not permitting use of “paper plates” issued by car dealers. Instead the law should require insurance of temporary issued plates that record the car purchaser for a limited time period until the permanent plates are issued. There has been an increased use of these paper plates on recently purchased autos to commit crimes. This opening has given criminals and I might add … bad and careless drivers a pass making it impossible for law enforcement to track.

  3. Wow. I’m glad they didn’t have a gun. I have a lot of respect for men that get involved, but please keep in mind that there’s always a chance of getting shot. Laptops can be replaced. Lives can’t….

    • Respect – yes. Nothing but respect. As to your other point – taken. Some folks are just hard-wired to jump in when someone else is in trouble – and we’ve always felt drawn to people like that!

  4. Good description of the perps and the way they operate. Excellent work by those who helped. And by this site for bringing us another important local news story we never would have known about.

    • Thanks, Daniel, but we give all credit to those who chose to get involved on this one. We weren’t the ones getting punched! (this time). But we thought our neighbors might be interested in the details.

  5. Leave your laptops home, people. The whole working with them in public places just isn’t safe anymore. The thugs are working Laf, WC, Danv more than ever.

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