DAVIS -- Police in Davis are investigating a string of strongarm laptop robberies at coffee shops in the city.
In each robbery, young men walk into the business, look around and snatch someone's laptop away and run out. Police say victims are often in the middle of using their computers.
"They sprinted towards the door and they were yanking out everyone's laptops along the wall on their way out," said Marie Whitney Fawcett.
Fawcett and her boyfriend were in a Peet's Coffee on E Street in downtown Davis Tuesday night when the suspects struck. Surveillance inside the coffee shop shows the men move toward her sitting against the wall then take off with her laptop.
"I tried to grab it but they wrestled it from my hands and they broke the glass I was drinking out of," Fawcett said.
But Fawcett did not give up so easily. She chased the suspects outside to a waiting SUV.
"I reached them as they got to the car and was still trying to fight them. But then the driver started to go," Fawcett recalled. "So at that point, I was sort of halfway in and halfway out. They shoved me off and I didn't think it was worth it."
Maysoon Suleiman was inside Temple Coffee Roasters on G Street when a similar robbery took place back on the night of Aug. 14.
Two suspects grabbed a laptop from its owner, who later fell to the floor trying to stop the robbers at the door.
Although it wasn't Suleiman’s laptop that was snatched, she saw they were taken away from others inside and instinctively stepped in and ran after one suspect.
"I kinda grabbed onto him," Suleiman said. "He was tumbling a little bit and then when he kinda tripped over, I kinda tumbled over him and the laptop slipped out of his hands."
Both robbers then jumped into a waiting car and sped off. Suleiman returned the laptop, intact, to its owner.
Both Fawcett and Suleiman say they took action without thinking about getting hurt or the suspects possibly being armed.
"In the moment, you're not thinking about that," Suleiman said.
"I praise the people that have been brave enough to try that," said Davis Police Lt. Paul Doroshov. "Just keep in mind that property is always replaceable. You as a person are not."
At least two people ended up with minor injuries after trying to fight back, according to police.
Davis investigators say the same day Temple was hit robbers also struck a Starbucks in Dixon.
"We think the incidents are related," Doroshov said. "We don't know if it's the same exact people doing all of them. But because the style of the crime is very similar and the targeting is very similar, we believe there might be some relation."
Fawcett just hopes to get her laptop back. It contains thousands of priceless vacation pictures with her brother abroad.
"I really would like to get it back," Fawcett said. "It's worth much more to me than to someone who needs a laptop."
Investigators believe the robberies are part of a regional trend.
Below is a list of robberies from the Davis Police Department:
- August 14 - Temple Coffee in Downtown Davis
A similar robbery happened the same day at a Starbucks in Dixon
- August 28 - Starbucks at 403 Mace Boulevard
- September 23 - Peets Coffee at 1411 West Covell Boulevard
- September 25 - Peets Coffee at 231 E Street
Police say people who use their electronics at coffee shops should keep a record of their serial numbers and report the theft instead of chasing after thieves.