Suspects allegedly use babies to distract from robbery attempt at San Francisco Pilates studio 

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It was like stealing candy using a baby.

Parents turned their infant into a prop to pilfer a purse from a Pilates studio in Glen Park last week, according to police.

Prosecutors said one of three suspects who entered the Pilates studio in the 600 block of Chenery Street on Aug. 20 insisted on changing a 3-month-old boy near a customer's purse. Two alleged accomplices toting toddlers reportedly helped case the studio before the heist.

The incident unfolded about 1:20 p.m., police said, when one of the suspects, identified as Sabrina Cibrian, 27, of San Francisco, walked into the store with two children between the ages of 1 and 2. At the time, an instructor was in the middle of a private session with a customer and asked Cibrian if she could return later or call for an appointment.

Instead of leaving, police said, Cibrian cased the studio, checking to see if anyone else was around. At one point, the victims said, Cibrian waved to someone outside.

That's when two more suspects, a man and a woman, came in. One of the suspects, identified as 30-year-old John Luis Perez of San Francisco, was holding a 3-month-old boy. The suspects asked if they could change the infant, saying the child had vomited on himself.

But it was their crooked ways that needed changing, police said.

The third suspect, who hasn't been identified because investigators are still searching for her, ignored the instructor's offer to use the restroom and started changing the baby on a bench near the customer's purse.

All three suspects left with their children and the purse, but the customer hollered, "She's got my purse" and chased after the unidentified suspect. After initially losing sight of the thief, police said, the customer finally spotted her on a nearby staircase rummaging through the purse.

"The suspect said she took the purse by mistake and returned it," prosecutors said.

The customer did not believe her and began snapping photos of the suspect with her cellphone. That angered the suspect, who punched the customer in the chest and fled.

While the woman who took the purse got away, officers located Cibrian and Perez and both were positively identified by the victims.

During the investigation, officers also located the suspects' vehicle nearby, a Dodge Caravan, which carried "additional items belonging to other victims," police said.

The pair is charged with two burglary-related felony counts and four misdemeanors, including three for child endangerment, Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said.

They are scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

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Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014

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