It seemed like any other day when 32-year-old Julie Dragland was just riding the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) by herself. However, someone sitting behind her dropped a note into her lap that changed everything.
Dragland picked up the note, not knowing what to expect. It read, “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 discreet. Do not turn around until after you have left Civic Center + you will live.”
Dragland fell to the ground and began faking a seizure in order to draw attention to the situation. “I probably looked very ridiculous,” she said. “I slumped sideways and started shaking and crying. I closed my eyes and increased the vigor so people would pay attention.”
Dragland’s odd plan evidently worked, because as the other BART passengers started to notice what was going on, a couple came up to her to see if she was okay. She then handed them the note and the mugger left the scene.
Video surveillance showed the suspect as a woman in her 30s with long strawberry-blonde hair. There was no indication that she actually had any weapons on her, so Dragland may have really lucked out there!
In the BART online crime log, police stated, “The victim faked a medical problem to attract attention and reported the incident to police, but did not want to speak to an officer. The victim later contacted an officer in Oakland and provided more information.”
Initially police didn’t think that the account that Dragland gave of the suspect matched what was on the video footage - she told police that she thought the suspect was carrying a suitcase. But later they found the suspect was carrying some sort of tote on wheels that roughly matched Dragland’s description.
Although the suspect may face felony charges if caught, Dragland has said that she doesn’t plan to press charges herself, according to BART police. She is certainly much nicer than most would be in her position!
You can’t help but think that anyone else in this situation wouldn’t have been so quick-thinking or brave as Dragland. A common reaction to such a terrifying experience is to freeze up with fear, so it’s lucky that didn't happen for her!
It’s important to keep in mind that if you get mugged while you are alone, it’s generally best to just give the mugger your belongings instead of putting up a fight; it’s very likely that the mugger has no intention of actually harming you, but you don’t want to risk your life for a cell phone!