Muni riders pepper-sprayed for cell phones in San Francisco 

A bizarre episode unfolded Friday night in the Bayview district when, according to police, a horde of young women attacked Muni bus riders with pepper spray — not once but twice — and made off with a couple of cell phones.

Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said the bus was proceeding down Palou Avenue at around 8 p.m. The bus stopped at Griffith Street when two vehicles approached and several young women, ages 17 to 20, got out, pried open the bus doors and sprayed a chemical substance believed to be pepper spray in the air, he said.

The women then got off the bus, which continued on and stopped the next block at Hawes Street, “where it was blocked in, from the front and from the rear” by the same two cars, Esparza said.

“That’s when the suspects boarded the bus again and attacked the three victims” — two 18-year-old women and one 19-year-old woman — Esparza said.

“They got sprayed,” he said.

The women then began grabbing at the victims’ purses, but only got away with two cell phones, according to Esparza.

Witnesses reported between 10 and 20 young women were involved in the attacks, according to police, but it was not immediately clear how many were in the cars. The vehicles were described as a black sedan and a white, four-door, late-’80s-model vehicle.

No arrests were made, and the victims refused medical attention, Esparza said. The driver, a 41-year-old man, was also apparently affected by the noxious spray in the bus and treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Police are now trying to review surveillance video from the bus.

“The suspects are known to at least one of the victims, but we don’t know what the prior history is,” Esparza said.

The incident does not appear to be gang-related, he said.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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Ari Burack

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