Julie Dragland was on the BART train in the Bay Area when a stranger pushed past her and dropped a note in her lap.
When she looked down to read it, she was horrified.
“There are 2 guns pointed at you now. If you want to live hand back your wallet + phone NOW + do not turn around and be descreet. Do not turn around until after you have left Civic Center + you will live.”
Dragland was about to leave for a trip to London the next day, and she had her credit card and identification on her, which she would need for the trip. She was scared, but not so scared that she would just comply with the note. She knew giving up her ID was a bad move.
At first she tried mouthing help to see if someone would notice—it didn’t work.
So she did something she had seen on TV before, hoping it would work: She faked a seizure.
Dragland collapsed to her side, shaking, and figured that perhaps they would think she was reacting out of fear, but not purposely not complying.
It worked. Some of the other passengers tried to help her, while the robber, dressed in dark clothing, got off at the next stop.
BART officials were able to identify the perpetrator on surveillance footage and are investigating the crime. It appeared to be a woman wearing dark clothing and sunglasses, with a wheeled suitcase.
After a San Francisco Chronicle article revealed that 77 percent of all BART cameras were decoys, the rail line announced a $1.42 million project to replace fake cameras with real ones this February.
About 433,000 commute via BART every workday.