Police blotter: Recent crime in Berkeley

This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley based on information from the Berkeley Police Department and the UC Berkeley Police Department. For other sources of information on crime in Berkeley see Community CrimeView and Crimemapping.com.

Arson, Dwinelle Hall Men’s Room, #11-04877
On Monday, November 28, 2011 at 8:26 p.m., UCPD received a report of a fire in the men’s restroom on floor C of Dwinelle Hall.  Officers arrived on scene and found smoke coming out of the men’s room door. The Berkeley Fire Department (BFD) arrived on scene and extinguished the fire.  BFD informed officers that there had been two fires in the restroom. Paper toilet seat covers had been stuffed inside a toilet paper dispenser and set on fire and the restroom garbage can had also been set on fire. The UC Fire Marshal determined that the fires were arson. The fires caused smoke and flame damage to the interior of the restroom stall and the restroom walls and completely melted the toilet paper dispenser.  No one was injured by the fire. There is no suspect(s) description at this time.

Attempted Robbery Via Strong arm/Force- 1200 block of Bancroft way #2011-67002
On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at about 7:30 p.m. a 17 year old Berkeley community member was walking in the 1200 block of Bancroft way. She told BPD officers that she was approached by two male teens, 17-20 years old. One of the suspects punched her in the cheek, while the other grabbed at her iPhone. The victim resisted the robbers, but one of the suspects grabbed her around the neck and threw her to the ground. The victim got up quickly and ran westbound on Bancroft Way to escape them. The victim provided general descriptions as the encounter was short. Officers did area checks but did not detain or arrest anyone.

Pedestrian Stop/Probation Compliance Check – Narcotics Arrest – Sacramento Street & Ashby Avenue #2011-66863
A BPD patrol officer was on her beat driving around on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. She saw a man that she knew was on searchable probation at a bus stop at Sacramento and Ashby. The officer got out to engage him and ask how he was doing. The man said he was “staying outta trouble.” The officer confirmed the man was on probation and searched him. She found crack cocaine and a crack pipe in his possession. The BPD officer arrested and booked the 46 year old Berkeley suspect for the offenses of 11350 (a) H&S – Possession of a controlled substance, 11364 H&S – Drug Paraphernalia and 1203.2 PC – Probation Violation. The case packet is forwarded to the DA for her review and charging consideration.

Identity Theft/Fraud – 1400 block of Hopkins Street – #2011- 66663
On Monday, November 28, 2011 at about 4:20 p.m., an older member of the Berkeley community called to report that she has been the victim of identity theft and fraud by an unknown suspect or suspects. The woman said that she called Macy’s regarding her bill as she lost part of it that came via US Mail. A representative told her that someone had recently charged $900 on her account. Upon further research through her credit card companies and her bank, the victim learned that an unknown suspect or suspects charged over $450 to Old Navy and opened a WalMart account/credit card in her name. The BPD officer documented the crimes and gave her crime prevention advice and other related guidance.

Commercial Burglary via window smash – 2000 block of San Pablo Avenue – #2011-66791
An employee told a BPD officer that employees left the restaurant locked at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Monday, November 28, 2011. When they returned on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., a woman employee found the front door unlocked, a broken window and items stolen from the business. Among the items stolen were some brass statutes, cash and alcoholic beverages.

Residential Burglary via window screen cut/unlocked window – 3000 block of Deakin Street #2011-66602
A community member called BPD on Monday, November 28, 2011 to report a burglary of her apartment. She reported to the BPD officer who responded that she left between 10:00 a.m. and noon and when she returned, her place had been burglarized. The unknown suspect or suspects cut a screen to access an unlocked window to get in. The list of stolen items includes a large LCD flat screen TV, TV speakers, ID and some personal checks. Other officers, as they routinely do, conducted area checks for suspicious activity, individuals, discarded evidence and witnesses and did not find any.

Battery and Brandishing – 1800 block of University Avenue – #2011-66606
A male suspect went into the convenience store section of a gas station in the 1800 block of University Ave on Monday, November 28, 2011 at 12:17. The suspect began opening a package of food he had apparently bought elsewhere. He was opening the food with a box cutter near the microwave. The clerk approached him and said the microwave was for customers only. The suspect became angry and belligerent and picked up a woven bowl full of plastic lemon juice containers that was on display near the microwave, and threw them at the clerk. Some of the containers hit the clerk. The suspect then brandished the clerk with the box cutter by holding it aggressively in his right hand. The clerk called 911 and the suspect left on foot southbound on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Although officers arrived and did area checks, they did not locate the suspect. The clerk was not injured.

Auto Burglary via an unlocked door – 1600 block of University Avenue #2011-66969
A Santa Paula woman parked her Chevy on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at about 9:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of University Avenue. On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. when she returned to her car, she saw that the windows were rolled down and a cardboard box with prescription glasses, a GPS and a cell phone charger were stolen. She reported the crime to BPD later in the day. A BPD CSI responded to fingerprint the car.

Two Auto Burglaries via window smashes – 1900 block of Fourth Street #2011-66690
A Healdsburg man and a Eureka man parked their cars near in the 1600 block of Fourth Street on Monday, November 28, 2011 at about 7:40 p.m. When they returned to their Subaru and Honda, each man noted that one of the windows had been smashed and property had been stolen from their cars. The Healdsburg man’s suitcase, shoulder bag containing clothing, a Canon camera, iPad, airline tickets and medications were stolen. The Eureka man documented with the BPD officer that his wife’s iPhone phone was taken. Other BPD officers did area checks for potential suspicious persons and did not locate any.

Auto Burglary via window smashes – 2600 block of Dana Street #2011-66582
A Berkeley woman parked her Honda in the 2600 Dana Street 5:00 a.m. on Monday, November 28, 2011. She told the BPD officer that responded that she just got back in town and was tired so she left several bags in the car. When she returned to her vehicle around 09:20 a.m. she found the rear window on the driver side completely smashed. The BPD officer listed the stolen items to include a bag containing miscellaneous women’s clothing, and medications.

Residential Burglary via Door Force – 2100 block of Virginia Street #2011-65906
On Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at about 9:15 p.m., two residents left a home in the 2100 Virginia Street. When they returned at midnight on Thursday, November 24, 2011, they discovered that the front door had been forced open. Upon further investigation, they saw that a laptop, digital camera and two backpacks with miscellaneous items were stolen.

Attempted Residential Burglary via Screen/Window Smash – 1700 block of Spruce Street  #2011-65933
A BPD officer was dispatched to a possible burglary in progress on Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 5:28 a.m. When the officer arrived to the reported apartment, he found the back door screen torn and the glass broken. No suspect or suspects were able to get in. A BPD CSI arrived a took photographs of the damage. Officers did area checks but did not find any suspicious individuals in the area.

Residential Burglary via Window Smash – 1800 block of Arch – #2011-65934
A community member called on Thursday, November 24, 2011 at about 5:43 a.m. and said that he heard vibrations on the fire escape of his apartment building then heard a window smash in an adjacent unit. BPD officers arrived and created a perimeter around the building as they believed that the suspect or suspects might still be inside the apartment. A team of officers then entered the building, searched the apartment in question which has a west facing window smashed out. Officers also checked all the common areas of the building and did not locate any suspect(s). The resident was not home thus the BPD officer secured the window and left a business card instructing the resident to call if he/she found anything missing. A BPD CSI responded later to process the apartment for anything of evidentiary value.

Residential Burglary via unlocked/forced window – One Arrested – 2300 block of Hearst Street #2011-65935
A community member from the 2300 block of Hearst Street called BPD 911 at about 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 24, 2011 after he heard a crash above his apartment. He then noted what sounded like someone walking around upstairs and the steps sounded much louder than his regular neighbor. He believed that the unit was being burglarized. BPD officers arrived swiftly and the male suspect ran up the stairs to the roof. Officers challenged the burglar at gunpoint as he stood on the roof, but the burglar jumped. The burglar landed on another roof and then jumped to an adjacent yard. Officers arrested him in that yard. The white male adult, 24 years of Oakland, was arrested and booked for 459PC – Burglary, 466PC – possession of burglary tools, 496PC – possession of stolen property, 148 (a) (1) – Resisting/Obstructing a Peace Officer and 1203.2 PC – Probation violation. Prior to booking, BFD paramedics transported him to a local trauma center for medical evaluation to be “fit for incarceration.” He did not sustain any life threatening or major injuries. The investigation of whether he is connected to the other aforementioned burglaries is ongoing.

Quick Facts:
There were 7 stolen autos between November 28 and November 30th throughout the city.

Traffic Stops: Between the period of Monday, November 28, 2011 at midnight and 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2011, BPD officers made 47 traffic enforcement stops for a variety of violations. Some of these stops lead to citations, tows, warrant arrests and on view arrests for crimes. These numbers do not include the Traffic Bureau/motorcycle officers and the like. Every successful traffic safety program/collision reduction program must include the three Es – Education, Engineering and Enforcement.

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid.

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  • http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/09/local-recycle-reuse-hits-a-bur.html The Sharkey

    Hecka home burglaries going on in Berkeley these days.
    Keep your windows and doors locked, and be prepared.

    If you’re interested in buying a firearm for home protection or recreation, the Old West Gun Room in El Cerrito is just a short drive from Berkeley and has good reviews on Yelp.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/old-west-gun-room-el-cerrito

  • Anonymous

    Keeping a gun in the home is much more likely to result in the injury or death of a household member than it is to successfully and safely ward of a burglar or other intruder.

    Refutations of the statistics I linked to have been primarily based on the work of John R. Lott, whose work has been widely called into question or even discredited.

    So while keeping one’s doors and windows locked remains good advice, buying a gun to protect your family from harm is like eating at McDonalds to prevent obesity.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/09/local-recycle-reuse-hits-a-bur.html The Sharkey

    Unless Berkeleyside is now claiming to endorse the content of all posts by all commenters on this website, a user posting a link to a Yelp page about a local business does not qualify as Berkeleyside encouraging anyone to do anything.

    The bias shown in the comment moderating lately is pretty over the top.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/09/local-recycle-reuse-hits-a-bur.html The Sharkey

    You’re infinitely more likely to be accidentally killed by a car than to be accidentally killed by a gun, Eric.

    Should Berkeley ban cars?

  • Anonymous

    You get a 10.0 in rhetorical gymnastics for using a straw man as red herring.

    I did not make the argument that we should ban guns in Berkeley, or anywhere for that matter. The issue of whether one is more likely to be killed by a car than a gun is irrelevant to the question of whether having a gun in the home is a good way to prevent burglary. I was merely pointing out that the statistics show that having a gun in
    the home makes one’s family less rather than more
    safe.

    But since you bring it up, yes, I do think we need more sensible practices and policies surrounding the ownership and operation of both guns and cars. But that is a longer discussion for another time and place.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/09/local-recycle-reuse-hits-a-bur.html The Sharkey

    You get a 10.0 in rhetorical gymnastics for using a straw man as red herring

    …says the young man who makes the bizarre claim that posting a link to a local gun seller somehow means that I made the moronic claim that owning a gun would prevent burglary.

  • http://www.davosnewbies.com lknobel

    You’re right to correct me: what our commenters say does not imply endorsement by Berkeleyside. But I deleted your link because I don’t want this to be a venue for information about gun ownership. Similarly, we’d reject advertising from a gun store. 

    I know it’s legal. I know people can look on Yelp or Google for information. But Berkeleyside doesn’t want to make it easier. 

  • http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/09/local-recycle-reuse-hits-a-bur.html The Sharkey

    You should consider adding a line to the Comments Policy about the possibility of moderators censoring discussions about Second Amendment rights.

  • Anonymous

    Women and their iPhones: An easy mark for violent crime.  This makes me personally furious as well as sick.  Most of the perps are young male teen throw-a-ways from the ghetto as time has proven time and again in these reports ( some Hispanics also ).  Women have a different agenda in life and do not desire to live in fear with constant vigilance and unending situational awareness.  A stunning and petite young women here locally spent a week in Alta Bates recovering from just such a violent aggravated iPhone robbery with back injuries.  Perhaps the Berkeleyside could run a story on how to “secure” these phones with GPS locators and insurance as well as full data backup that might help mitigate this problem to some extent or degree.  Be a great way for a continued sting operation BTW. if the PD were at all interested.  Remember to file for Victims compensation from this State agency after you obtain a police report and ask for help with it as they, the State, can make it difficult for therapists to treat or assist you:  http://www.vcgcb.ca.gov/victims/  Remember your life and health are more important than your phone.  The police cannot protect you against such crime, however carry a simple whistle on your key chain at all times to scare them or to break up just such a robbery on others.  Video record them as well!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UTAORC2LANQF2ONEFJYXBSITTA bingo

    I wasn’t in Berkeley during the economic boom years of the early 2000’s, but during these lean times it certainly does feel as though a lot of Oakland is coming over for feeding and prey purposes then heading back to the nest.  I have felt decreasingly safe in Berkeley over the past few years.

  • DJGuestieguest

    what? nothing in the blotter indicates in any way that these are crimes committed by people “coming over for feeding and prey purposes.”

  • berkeleyhigh1999

    wow what racism. “some hispanics also” go live in alamo or danville buddy, or iceland where apparently there is no crime from “throw away” people 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UTAORC2LANQF2ONEFJYXBSITTA bingo

    really?  I’m fairly sure a lot of these arrests *in Berkeley* involve residents *from Oakland*.  This is week after week, check the logs.

    Did you think this splendid young person committing a residential burglary, for example, had just come over to volunteer at the library and got confused?  I’m calling it predator/prey behavior.  Call it what you will DJ.

    (The white male adult, 24 years of Oakland, was arrested and booked for…)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UTAORC2LANQF2ONEFJYXBSITTA bingo

    actually, the crime rates in Iceland are remarkably low.  I don’t know that I’d be afraid of a punch in the face phone grab there.  

  • Simon Jester

    It always astonishes me how many people, mostly young people, walk down the streets of Berkeley at night with their iThings in their ears, oblivious to their surroundings

  • Anon234

    Should Berkeley residents really expect to have to remain constantly vigilant against crime and not be able to feel safe in their home town?

  • berkeleyhigh1999

    exactly.

  • berkeleyhigh1999

    being aware of your surroundings is not remaining constantly vigilant. It is called common sense. not that someone immersed in their phone at all deserves to be robbed. but many times people from a more suburban community come to college at Cal and do not realize they are all grown up now in the real world.

  • DJGuestieguest

    Believe it or not, people capable of committing crimes live in Berkeley. Sometimes they actually COMMIT them! Our rarefied air saves no one. Except you, I guess.

  • Charles_Siegel

    All those consumer electronics that people walk around with are sometimes called “weapons of mass distraction.”

  • EBGuy

    The Chronicle ran a recent story on smart phone muggings:
    “They prey on the weak – women, handicapped, impaired and young kids,”
    said Sgt. Mark Obrochta, who heads the undercover division at the
    Tenderloin Station…
    Victims make it easy by walking down the street, holding out the phone
    while texting or searching for directions. “First, I am showing you that
    I have a nice fancy phone,” said Brian Cooley, editor at large for
    Cnet. “And second, I am demonstrating that I do not have good
    situational awareness.”Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/30/BADN1M67G8.DTL#ixzz1fQamq8fz
     

  • Anonymous

    I’m a subscriber to Berkeleyside, but I’m seriously reconsidering that subscription in light of this moderation.

    I don’t own guns, and I’m strongly in favor of sensible gun control (no, you don’t need an AK47 for deer hunting).  With that said, you’ve posted a comments policy that bans a comment that:
    is abusive
    is off-topic
    contains ad-hominem attacks
    promotes hate of any kind
    uses excessively foul language
    is blatantly spam

    TheSharkey’s comment in NO way met any of those moderation guidelines.  The objectivity of this news site, to me, is now seriously in question given the off-policy moderation of a link to something as innocuous as a Yelp review.

    edited for formatting

  • Joe

    Actually, the studies you linked to do not support your view.

    These are all epidemiological studies – which can only illustrate correlation, but not causation.  In fact, there are known confounding factors that are nearly impossible to control for in these studies (e.g., ownership rates are difficult to determine due to unknown illegal ownership).

    Some of the correlation/causation confusion is obvious – does access to a gun make one suicidal, or does being suicidal lead someone to purchase a gun?

    Either way, I need to buy a few thousand rounds of 5.56 in the morning up in Vallejo…

  • Anonymous

    Joe, if you look at the long list of studies provided on the Harvard site, you will find that many controlled for demographic and other common and/or pertinent confounding factors; additionally, the studies used a variety of strong methods to evaluate gun ownership, including surveys and “validated proxies” of gun ownership.

    While correlation does not equal causation, it is disingenuous to assert the applicability of this principle in this case. The studies made reasonable efforts to account for confounding factors; in sociological/policy research it is often necessary to employ a different evidential standard. Even more important, however, is the fact that it would be deeply unethical, verging on impossible to actually conduct an experiment study in this regard. You would need to actually find a large random sample of people who were willing to keep a “placebo” or real gun in their house (with varying states of safety). Even if such a thing were remotely ethical, the selection bias would be so enormous as to invalidate the study.

    The question is not whether guns make one suicidal or vice versa–this misunderstands the issue. The question was whether the presence of a guns make it more likely that the suicide attempt will succeed, and the answer was a definitive yes.

    There are many sociological and societal factors that influence gun violence and violence in general, but we shouldn’t allow our love or hatred of guns to blind us to the general scientific consensus that the presence of guns elevates rather than diminishes safety risks.

  • Joe

    My initial post was mostly taking issue with your assertion that “keeping a gun…”

    I’m not being pedantic, but this is an important distinction to make: owning a gun does not increase the relative risks of these outcomes, but being a gun owner does.  It’s a very subtle distinction, but it’s quite important when you’re evaluating the evidence presented in an epidemiological study, or trying to effect any policy based on the research.

    The distinction is that the structure of “owning a gun” results in “X” necessarily implies a causal relationship.  However, the phrasing that “gun owners” have “X” results does not – “gun ownership” is now a dimension of the observations.

    If you read my short post, you’d see that I didn’t misunderstand the suicide issue – rather, it was illustrative of the correlation/causation issue at heart, and not the specifics of any of the studies.

    The studies themselves take care to point out some of the complexities involved in analyzing these issues (and definitely effecting policy from them).  For example, more than one of these studies cite research that demonstrates a higher probability of being a homicide victim for those that purchased a handgun through a licensed dealer.  There are multiple hypotheses we could draw from this information – for one, maybe it’s more likely that someone’s gun will be used against them (plausible and likely); alternatively, people might be more likely to purchase a handgun when their risk of becoming a victim is already elevated (e.g., someone has a crazy ex).  I agree that we can loosen the evidential standard, but these types of confounding factors makes it difficult to prudently use this research for policy.

    By the way – surveys hardly constitute a “strong method.”  And upon reading about the “validated proxies,” there are some clear problems with their methodologies – for example, the Miller paper uses “% of suicides via firearm” as the proxy, and validates it with the surveys and registered ownership rates.  The problem with this, of course, is that it assumes that legal owners/registered owners/affirmative survey responders have the same relative risk factor for suicide as the illegal/unregistered/negative survey responders.

    Identifying ownership rates is likely impossible, due to the extreme consequences for illegal ownership.  We’re then faced with heavily censored data, and it’s censored for a group that definitely has a greater risk profile (i.e., criminals) than the uncensored group (i.e., the general public).  It’s the same challenges we face in identifying illicit drug usage – due to obvious reasons, no method (or combination of methods) can really give us strong indicators for prevalence.

    We can go back and forth all night debating these topics – but my overarching points are 1) the studies you cited do not support the phrasing of your argument, and 2) you and I both agree that these are really complicated issues that are emotional for a large portion of the population, so any study in either direction is suspect.  Hopefully we can both agree that the absolute risk increase for gun owners is miniscule in comparison to countless other daily activities (which was The Sharkey’s point to begin with).

  • Anonymous

      This blocking of stolen phones serial numbers is going to be the next step here in the USA if customers “demand” it.  Btw. the police in Iceland do not even have to carry guns as the crime rate is so low and the populace very well educated with a 100% literacy rate.  They were pillaged by a different breed of gangster however and are having to rebuild their entire country and it’s banking system that collapsed under the ‘corporate criminals’ who looted it and ran.  They are already on their way back up and will survive even better than before with a new government that was rapidly replaced after demonstrations as per the loss of homes and life long pensions and savings.  I just wish we would follow their aggressive lead in this arena, however that is not going to be as easy here I see.  Let’s stay with securing these smart phones by making them even smarter.  

    The idea that your smart phone could make you vulnerable to a thief has triggered a strong reaction.I assumed that idea was simplistic. Surely there was a good reason why it wouldn’t work.Earlier this week I highlighted this problem and readers asked why the cell phone’s serial number couldn’t be used to block stolen phones, rendering them useless.There isn’t.Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/02/BAHO1M7J9U.DTL#ixzz1fVx5MoOv

  • Jmvorn

    Thanks for the information that Berkeleyside doesn’t want to make information on gun ownership easier.  It’s much better than pretending you don’t censor for your own agenda.  It’s something I’ll keep in mind if ever decide to read Berkeleyside again.

  • http://www.davosnewbies.com lknobel

    We discussed the moderation of your comment over the weekend. Our conclusion: we slipped up. Sorry about that. 

    As most people active in the comments recognize, we try to exercise a light hand. We’ll work hard to maintain that stance.