Armed robberies in Berkeley used Craigslist fraud

Four armed robberies in Berkeley this summer used a Craigslist fraud to lure victims.

In all the reported crimes, victims saw an ad on Craigslist and arranged to meet the purported seller at his alleged home address. Upon arriving, the victims were held up at gunpoint. Similar crimes have been reported in Oakland this summer, but the Berkeley Police Department said they have so far been unable to establish any links between the Berkeley and Oakland crimes.

Three of the four Berkeley crimes took place in the Elmwood/Claremont neighborhoods: on July 3 at 9:20 p.m. in the 2800 block of Piedmont Avenue; on July 9 at 10:45 p.m. in the block of 80 Hillcrest Road; and on July 31 at 9:13 p.m. on Hillcrest Road/Hillcrest Court. The other reported Berkeley crime was June 28 at 9:22 p.m. on the 3000 block of Wheeler Street in South Berkeley. 

“All the victims were responding to ads,” said Jennifer Coats, public information officer for the Berkeley Police. “People should remember to be cautious when meeting strangers, and to try to choose public places for meetings.”

A crime prevention alert from the BPD provides further advice:

  • Use extra caution when conducting business with unknown individuals or in unfamiliar locations.
  • Please keep all electronics and other valuables out of view and secured.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash on your person.
  • Be alert to your surroundings and people around you.
  • Be aware of locations and situations, which make you more vulnerable to crime such as alleys, doorways, parking lots, stairwells and unfamiliar areas.
  • Call BPD to report suspicious persons or activity.
  • If you are the victim of a robbery, immediately call the police. Be sure to provide the suspect description, direction of flight, any associated vehicles and vehicle license plate number.

Craigslist offers similar tips on its own site about personal safety.

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  • Foo

    Suspect is described as 5′ 10″ male.

  • don’t forget the hoodie.

  • Anonymous

    He just walked by my house!

  • realitybites

    just as always, watch out for sleazy negros…

  • Spysea

    Gotta love the brilliant journalism …. OK Lance….. Reporting 101  “What did the Robber/Thief look like…..?” maybe you should add that to your attempt at a crime report 

  • Guest

    If the Police don’t release that information, what is he supposed to do? Hire someone to hack the BPD database?

    Go back to SFist. You’re not wanted here.

  • Heather_W_62

    Well I guess we have this case all wrapped up. Safe to use Craig’s list again.

  • Doug

    To avoid this kinda thing, arrange in advance with the alleged car seller to meet in a busy public place, & specify that you won’t have the cash on you but that the 2 of you will have to go into a bank (with an armed guard present).  If the seller balks at all such arrangements, call the police.