Authorities reached out to the public Tuesday for help in identifying the perpetrators of two violent robberies that took place at the Otay Ranch Town Center shopping center in recent weeks.
The first of the two muggings at the mall in the 2000 block of Birch Road in Chula Vista occurred on Sept. 25. About 6 p.m. that day, a small group of youths attacked two shoppers, beating them and stabbing one in the leg before snatching a cellphone and a backpack from the victims and fleeing, Lt. Dan Peak said.
The second robbery took place early Friday evening, when about eight young thieves approached a group of people at the shopping center, punched one of them and stole his Boston Red Sox baseball cap.
"When friends attempted to intervene and help the victim, (one of the robbers) brandished a knife and told them to 'back up,'" Peak said.
That crime was captured on video and has circulated on social media the lieutenant said.
One woman who spoke with NBC 7 anonymously to protect her family's safety said her son was the victim in the second attack. She said the group held her son's friends at knifepoint as they punched her son several times. He was rushed to the emergency room.
"When I was trying to talk to him when he was in the ER, he wasn’t able to talk," the victim's mother said. "Of course I’m angry. How would you feel, or how someone could feel if this was their own child?"
Police have no detailed description of any of the robbers -- all of whom are believed to be juveniles -- and are unsure if the two muggings are related in any way.
The victim of the second attack believes they are connected because of the video that was posted on social media. He said he recognized the people in the video as the same group, his mother said.
According to the victim's mother, the group is sending threatening messages on social media to her son's friends. She fears for their safety as well as her own and her son's. She wanted to speak up to prevent it from happening to others.
"If I’m going to keep silent, it’s going to be someone else’s kid next week," she said.
Anyone with information about either robbery is asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 or contact the agency online at sdcrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1.000.