Text message lures teen into ambush

Receiving a text message from a friend’s cell phone turned into a trap for a young man recently.

South San Francisco police are looking for a group of men who stole one victim’s cell phone last weekend and used it to text message another man to lure him into a meeting place.

South San Francisco police said 19-year-old Ivan Hidalgo of San Bruno received a phone call from his brother early Sunday morning informing him that he had been robbed in San Bruno. Minutes later, Hidalgo received a text message from his brother asking to meet him at Brentwood Bowl at 237 El Camino Real in South City. Sgt. Joni Lee said the victim thought his brother was in need of help.

When Hidalgo arrived, however, he was immediately accosted by four Hispanic men wearing white tank top-style undershirts, Lee said.

Lee said the suspects asked Hidalgo who he was looking for and when he told them he was looking for his brother, they punchedhim and took his iPhone, valued at $400.

Lee said the method of the robbery was unusual.

“If they are targeting phones and they are text messaging other people, it’s getting in a different arena I’ve never heard of before,” she said.

The suspects were not seen carrying any weapons, according to police.

Lee said the robbery victims were not associated with any gang and did not know the suspects.

The suspects were last seen getting into a dark champagne-colored sedan with tinted windows, police said.

They are described as Hispanic men in their late teens or early 20s, wearing white tank tops and black pants. One of the suspects had a pony tail and a tattoo on his right shoulder.

svasilyuk@sfexaminer.com

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