The Berkeley Police Department has arrested a local man they say appears to be linked to several North Berkeley burglaries, officials said Thursday. Police found the man, a felon, in possession of weapons and ammunition after a car chase from south Berkeley into Emeryville in late December.
On Dec. 22, 2012, Berkeley Police officers near Harmon and California streets in south Berkeley spotted a sedan matching the description of a car reported to be involved in several burglaries and possibly a robbery in Berkeley, said officer Jennifer Coats, police spokeswoman, via email.
Officers tried to stop the driver, who fled from police “at a high rate of speed,” said Coats.
After about a mile, he veered into a dead end in the 1200 block of 65th Street in Emeryville then got out of the vehicle, running away and leaving a female passenger in the car. Coats said the man discarded a pistol, which police later recovered, as he ran.
Police found the driver — identified as Richard Stewart, 28, of Berkeley — hiding in the 1200 block of 63rd Street during a search undertaken with help from the Emeryville Police Department’s K-9 Unit.
Coats said she did not know whether the woman in the car was arrested, but that she would try to follow up with Berkeleyside next week with that information.
After arresting Stewart, shortly after midnight, police determined that the vehicle he’d been driving had been reported stolen, said Coats; officers found several stolen items and a loaded rifle in the vehicle.
Stewart was arrested on suspicion of several criminal violations, including possession of a stolen vehicle, being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of loaded firearms, evading police and two outstanding warrants for his arrest, as well as parole and probation violations.
Coats said Berkeley Police detectives have continued to follow up on the stolen property found in the vehicle, and that some of the items in the vehicle have been linked to several burglaries in North Berkeley.
Coats said the exact number of burglaries was not available Thursday afternoon but that she could attempt to provide it next week.
In late 2012, police investigated a spate of home burglaries in North Berkeley, at least some of which they said seemed to be connected. Two of those burglaries, one on Senior Avenue and one Fairlawn Drive, turned violent when the crimes were interrupted.
Coats said police cannot confirm whether Stewart was connected to the robberies on Senior and Fairlawn due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. Police are not releasing a photograph of Stewart at this time “to ensure the integrity of our investigation.”
Stewart is scheduled to appear in court Friday, Jan. 11, for a preliminary examination hearing at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland in Dept. 112 at 8:30 a.m., according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.
Stewart is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
There were six reports of home break-ins in the north Berkeley Hills area from Dec. 22 through Jan. 9 (the most recent date available), according to the Berkeley Police Department’s CrimeView Community.
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