Man with gun robs Solano Avenue bank in Berkeley

Mechanics Bank on Solano Avenue in Berkeley was robbed Wednesday morning.

Mechanics Bank on Solano Avenue in Berkeley was robbed Wednesday morning.

A man with a handgun robbed a Solano Avenue bank Wednesday morning shortly after it opened, authorities said.

Police are investigating a robbery at Mechanics Bank, 1801 Solano Ave., said Officer Jennifer Coats of the Berkeley Police Department, via email.

A bank staffer said the Mechanics Bank branch manager on Solano Avenue could not comment on the incident.

Coats said the robbery was reported just before 9:30 a.m. There were no reported injuries.

She said she did not know if surveillance footage would be available, and that no additional detail was available about the robbery.

Police were speaking with bank employees and searching the neighborhood for the robber, who left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police described the robber as black, in his late 30s, 6 feet 6 inches tall and stocky, and wearing a black beanie and black hooded sweatshirt. He was carrying a black backpack.

Coats said police were not sure if the man left in a car or on foot.

Related:
Armed men assault bank security guard in Berkeley [06.07.12]

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  • The Sharkey

    Do we know what kind of gun it was?

    Was it one of those scary “assault rifles” that everyone wants to ban? Or was it a handgun, which is the kind of weapon used in the large majority of gun crimes in the USA?

  • emraguso

    Police didn’t release anything like that but I will ask.

  • emraguso

    Via BPD: Handgun.

  • guest

    “Police described the robber as black, in his late 30s, 6 feet 6 inches
    tall and stocky, and wearing a black beanie and black hooded sweatshirt.
    He was carrying a black backpack.”

    Sounds like it would be easy to spot this guy.

  • John Holland

    We need to close the banks in Berkeley. They are a target for crime. Heck, they are criminals themselves!

  • The Sharkey

    Thanks!

  • Charles_Siegel

    People want to ban assault weapons because they are used for mass killings, not because they are used for bank robberies. According to today’s NY Times, Australia has 13 mass killings in the 18 years before it banned assault weapons, but none in the 10 years after.

    I just got email from moveon, saying:

    Today, President Obama proposed “the most aggressive and expansive national gun-control agenda in generations.”1 Mandatory background checks for all gun buyers. A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. More money for mental health. Stronger enforcement of the laws currently on the books.It took a horrifying, unthinkable tragedy to put guns back on the agenda. But we finally have a real chance to put some sanity into America’s gun laws.

    The ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips should reduce the number of mass killings, like the one that recently happened at Sandy Hook elementary school.

    The mandatory background checks for all gun buyers should reduce the use of guns in crimes like this one, by making it more difficult for felons to buy guns.

    It obviously makes sense to limit both of these forms of gun violence.

  • The Sharkey

    If your goal is to stop gun violence, it seems like it would make the most sense to ban the kind of weapon used in the majority of violent gun crimes – cheap semi-automatic handguns. Banning a type of weapon that is used in an extreme minority of crimes seems like a rather odd way of stopping gun violence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States#Homicides

  • guest

    Berkeleyside seems very focused on crime these last two weeks!

  • The Sharkey

    The crime explosion under Oakland’s Accidental Mayor is starting to bleed North.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Tell that to the people in Sandy Hook. See what they think about your claim that deaths in mass shootings are not important.

  • BHS verteran

    That’s why they call it “news”, it’s hard to predict.

  • The Sharkey

    Tell that to the people in Sandy Hook. See what they think about your claim that deaths in mass shootings are not important.

    I said no such thing and you know it, Charles. Pointing out that that the vast majority of gun violence is perpetrated by individuals with handguns is not even remotely the same thing as saying that victims of spree shootings are “not important.” You should be embarrassed at using such a sleazy, disgusting, and frankly trollish discussion tactic.

  • bingo

    with good reason, sadly.

  • bingo

    em: I saw that the SF Chron picked this story up with you in the lede. I know this will generate 15 snarky comments, but hat tip for upping the journalistic quality of this little berkeley blog.

  • guest

    I’m not so sure: there are a lot of follow up stories here that seem unusual.
    I don’t think we are experiencing a crime wave.

  • Data Guy

    Sensationalism for what end, Charles? If the truth is in the data and you are passionate about your cause, you will look to the data, instead of your own ego, for answers that actually work.

  • BB Cork

    John Holland — I believe you are referring to central banks and the Bank for International Settlements. All other banks are rather okay.

  • Data Guy

    Worried about your own death? 300,000 people die from cancer each year in the US. 16,000 die from drunk driving accidents. 400 police commit suicide each year while another 200 or so are killed in the line of duty. Getting killed by a gun is like getting struck by lightning. You don’t stay up worrying about lightning, do you?

    Real men use data, instead of the manipulative media, to determine where reality ends, and manipulation begins. Real men don’t live in other people’s fabricated fantasy worlds.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Lots of ad hominem arguments, which always a sign of a lack of serious arguments or ideas. Because I support President Obama’s effort to save lives taken in mass shootings, I am apparently sensationalistic, looking to my own ego, sleazy, and disgusting.

    In reality, I made the obvious point that we should both ban assault weapons and do more to restrict the use of handguns, as President Obama proposed and as I said at the beginning:

    “The ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips should reduce the
    number of mass killings, like the one that recently happened at Sandy
    Hook elementary school.

    “The mandatory background checks for all gun buyers should reduce the
    use of guns in crimes like this one, by making it more difficult for
    felons to buy guns.

    “It obviously makes sense to limit both of these forms of gun violence.”

    There is no reason at all for doing one and ignoring the other. Because a smaller number of people are killed by assault weapons, it does not follow that we should not save those lives – considering that we can save those lives very easily by banning assault weapons as Australia has.

    Deny it all you want, and call me all the names you want, but the obviouls fact is that anyone who argues against banning assault weapons on the grounds that more people are killed by handguns is, in fact, saying that it is not important enough to bother passing the law that could easily save the lives of people killed by assault weapons.

    The statistics provide a good reason to support Obama’s proposed limits on handguns. The statistics do not provide any reason at all to oppose his proposed ban on assault weapons – at least, they do not give any reason to those of us who think every life is important.

  • guest

    >real men
    What is this: some macho rant?
    demiurge?

  • emraguso

    We are working to bone up our crime coverage, operating under the assumption that public safety is important. We’re working to get more timely and detailed information from BPD and still getting a sense of what’s typical, what is not and what we can provide. We’re continuing to offer a range of coverage, which you can see under the “all the news” tab above. Today was heavier than planned due to the robbery. We haven’t dialed back on any other coverage as a result. That said, school has been out and city government was on break as well due to the holidays, so the mix has been somewhat different than usual.

  • The Sharkey

    Lots of ad hominem arguments, which always a sign of a lack of serious arguments or ideas.

    Excuse me? You’re the one making ad hominem attacks here, Charles.

    Attributing statements to people you disagree with that they never said is as low as one can possibly get in a debate. That you’re trying to justify your comments is pathetic.

  • The Sharkey

    Arguing using appeals to emotion and false attributions is childish. I believe Data Guy is telling Charles to “grow up.”

  • Charles_Siegel

    I have seen lots of idiotic arguments for guns, but this is the most idiotic yet. Lots of people die from cancer and auto accidents, and therefore it follows that we should not try to save lives lost to gun violence.

    Real men don’t have paranoid fantasies that they are being manipulated by the media.

  • The Sharkey

    Falling out of bed kills more than 6 times as many people as spree shooters even in America’s worst year for spree shooting. Is that a “National Epidemic” that needs to be addressed through banning certain kinds of beds?

    (Falling out of bed kills approximately 600 Americans per year.)
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1562978,00.html

  • The Sharkey

    So are you saying that people who say that FOX News is manipulative are paranoid, Charles?

  • guest

    Well, thank-you for the explanation.
    Unfortunately some not so savvy people, or some who only sleep here _ living & working elsewhere_ might take this to meant hat we were indeed experiencing a crime wave. (See Sharkey’s comment re: crime explosion)( and bingo’s regarding “good reason”)

  • Charles_Siegel

    We have lots of safety standards for products that improve health and safety in small ways – and I am sure that many save fewer than 600 lives per year. As far as I can see, there is no such standard possible to stop people from dying by falling out of bed. But that shouldn’t stop us from saving lives where it is possible.

    We all know that Sharkey has to get the last word in every argument.

  • The Sharkey

    Homicides, Oakland
    2010: 94
    2011: 110
    2012: 131

  • guest

    >real men
    you sure you don’t mean “alphas”?
    *eye roll*

  • The Sharkey

    Even with all the safety precautions that we have, and even though they are designed for a restful night’s sleep rather than killing things, bed-related accidents still kill more Americans every year than “assault weapons” do.

    Sure makes “assault weapons” seem a lot less scary, huh?

  • emraguso

    I joined a great team here and I’m happy to contribute in any way that’s beneficial to Berkeleyside and to the Berkeley community. Thanks for your nice note!

  • guest

    his choice of words is telling: for instance he didn’t use the word: “adult”.
    (Or the words “grow up” for that matter

  • tor_berg

    The 2006 article in Time magazine from which you drew this number states that 600 people died that year falling out of bed. According to the Brady campaign, 30, 896 Americans were killed by firearms in 2006.

    It’s sure fun to be cute and pedantic on the internet, especially when you’re hiding behind a pseudonym and you don’t have to take responsibility for your statements. But the point that you’re making is specious on its face.

    Literally every gun death is a preventable death. Demeaning efforts to create a public policy approach to these preventable deaths because they don’t rise to your arbitrary standard of importance strikes me as snide and, frankly, immoral.

  • tor_berg

    It seems quite clear what Charles is saying, and this is not it.

  • The Sharkey

    Perhaps. I’m not familiar with “Data Guy” so I’m just guessing.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Sharkey, I have often said that you make lots of good points, but you also spend too much time quibbling.

    I obviously was making a joke about “real men.” You are wasting time by taking that joke literally and using it as the basis for a petty quibble.

  • tor_berg

    Since you’re a big fan of data, I’m sure you’ve read the recent report from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence showing that states with stronger gun control laws have lower rates of firearm deaths.

    Gun deaths are all preventable. The data shows clearly that gun regulations prevent deaths. Why so dismissive of public policy that has been shown to reduce preventable mortality?

  • Charles_Siegel

    Exactly my point. He is saying that, because a relatively small number of deaths are involved, it is not important enough to pass a law to save those lives.

    Of course, he also thinks I am disgusting, sleazy, and trollish to make that point.

  • The Sharkey

    1.) I was explicitly stated that I was talking about deaths caused by spree shooters, which is the “national epidemic” that’s currently being used to push bans on “assault” weapons that are used in a tiny fraction of firearm-related deaths rather than on handguns which are used in the vast majority of gun-related crimes.

    2.) The Brady campaign’s number includes suicides which make up almost half of gun-related deaths every year. Gun homicides in the US have been falling steadily since 2006 even without any bans or new laws.

    3.) Literally every automobile death is a preventable death. Literally every death from falling out of bed is a preventable death. Passing feel-good legislation designed to ban a type of weapon that is responsible for roughly 4% of gun-related deaths rather than the type of gun that is responsible for 75% of gun-related deaths seems wrong-headed.

  • The Sharkey

    No, Charles, I think you are disgusting, sleazy, and trollish for attempting to attribute statements to me that I did not make.

  • guest

    I know you aren’t familiar with “Data Guy” ;)

  • The Sharkey

    How would you feel about reducing the National speed limit to 55mph again?

    Every automobile death is preventable, and the data shows clearly that lowering the National speed limit to 55 will save lives.

  • bingo

    out of total curiosity, how does the Oakland population look for those same years? (i.e. I’m wondering if homicides as a %age of population has gone up). Irrespective of my mathematical curiosity, those numbers are horrifying a lot of the reason why I don’t go to Oakland as much as my cultural, food, and other interests might dictate–I don’t feel particularly safe. Not because of numbers, just the feeling I get biking or walking down certain streets.

  • The Sharkey

    Hmmm, good question.

    Looks like even when you account for population growth there was still an increase in the murder rate between 2010 and 2011, but I can’t find the numbers to see if there was an overall increase between 2011 and 2012.

    2010: 390,724
    2011: 395,817

    2012: can’t find info

    Sources:
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0653000.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland,_California

  • Reader

    Evidently this blog no longer lets readers mark posts as unsuitable, but this guy Sharkey is himself disgusting and posts much too often. Thanks, Mr. Siegel, for holding up the thinking person’s end of the discussion.

  • The Sharkey

    I was unaware that resorting to appeals to emotion and false attributions were the “thinking person’s” method of discussing issues. How silly of me to think that using gross logical fallacies rather than presenting evidence was the appropriate way to discuss an issue.

  • bgal4

    would could just go back to keeping crime Berkeley’s dirty little secret

  • http://www.berkeleyside.com/ lknobel

    We hired Emilie precisely because we wanted to continue to improve the journalism and the range of coverage on Berkeleyside.