Berkeley crime: Stabbing, robbery warrant, more

Berkeley Police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Photo: Emilie Raguso

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and were selected by the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. Click to see past narratives from police, and Berkeleyside’s most recent compilation of calls for service. See the most recent “calls for service” spreadsheet from the Berkeley Police.

April 20, Saturday: Police arrested Keith Whittaker, 46, after responding to the 2900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way for a report of a male and female fighting. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said, via email in response to a Berkeleyside request, that police who responded to the call spoke with Whittaker as well as a 29-year-old Berkeley woman. Coats said the man and woman, who had previously been involved in a relationship, had gotten into an “argument that escalated into a physical altercation, with the suspect striking the victim.” During the incident, police said Whittaker took money from the victim, who suffered a non-life-threatening injury when he struck her. Whittaker was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence battery, robbery, grand theft from a person, and possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. He remains in custody in Santa Rita Jail with a hearing set for May 9, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.

April 21, Sunday: A woman who had parked her Black 1997 Honda Accord near Haste Street and College Avenue on April 15 said she found it missing at about 10 a.m. Sunday.

April 22, Monday: Someone broke into a vehicle in the 1000 block of Oxford Street sometime before 10:35 a.m. He or she prowled the vehicle but appeared to have taken nothing.

April 23, Tuesday: A man having dinner in a restaurant in the 1700 block of University Avenue put down his bag on the floor, then left afterward without remembering to pick it up. He went back inside and discovered that the bag, which contained his laptop, was missing, and had not been turned in to restaurant staff.

April 24, Wednesday: Police arrested Cleveland Chantia Braziel in connection with a March 16 home-invasion robbery in the 2000 block of University Avenue. Police said, in response to a Berkeleyside request, that Cleveland was identified through the course of their investigation as having been responsible for the robbery, in which cash and electronics were taken. Detectives sought a warrant for Braziel’s arrest, and took him into custody in Richmond at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday. He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, robbery and home-invasion robbery. Police declined to state whether there were other suspects under investigation. According to the Alameda County sheriff’s department, Braziel remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail and is set for a sentencing hearing May 30.

A woman was walking near Adeline and Woolsey streets at about 8:30 p.m. when she heard footsteps behind her, then was shoved and fell to the ground. One person grabbed her bag as she was falling. The suspects, described as 17-year-old black girls, took the bag, which contained the victim’s wallet and other items. The girls were last seen running north on Adeline. One of the girls appeared to be 5 feet 3 inches tall, 115 pounds, and was wearing a light-colored hooded sweatshirt. The other appeared to be 5 feet 4 inches tall, 120 pounds, and was wearing all dark clothing.

April 25, Thursday: Someone broke into a home in the 40 block of Montrose Avenue between 12:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. by smashing a window. The thief stole numerous items, including a laptop.

April 26, Friday: Police arrested 44-year-old Maieasha Scott after she reportedly assaulted a 63-year-old Berkeley woman with a knife. Police spokeswoman Coats said, in response to a request from Berkeleyside, that officers responded to the 1200 block of Ashby Avenue around 11:25 p.m. for a report of an assault. Police said Scott and the victim knew each other. During an argument, police said Scott stabbed the other woman, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Scott was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and probation violation. She no longer appeared to be in custody as of May 3, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.

A thief who apparently entered through an unlocked window stole jewelry and other items from a home in the 2000 block of Del Norte Street sometime between 3:15 and 10:15 p.m.

April 27, Saturday: A man attempting to help a driver, in what he thought was a disabled vehicle outside his home, discovered what appeared to be a thief inside his vehicle who was trying to steal it. A man was inside his home, in the 1500 block of Campus Drive, at 6:15 a.m. when he heard noises outside. He looked out and saw a vehicle stalled in the roadway; thinking it was a motorist having problems, he went outside to see if he could help. He found his own vehicle, and a man inside it who was trying to burglarize it. The suspect got into a brown SUV and fled. Police said, after further examination, it appeared the suspect was trying to steal the vehicle. The driver was described as a heavy-set Hispanic man, age 35-40, and 5 feet 10 to 6 feet tall.

April 29, Monday: The University of California Police Department announced the arrest of an 18-year-old who reportedly tried to steal a cell phone from a 23-year-old UC student. The student was walking at 10:05 p.m. in the 2100 block of Shattuck Avenue, near Allston Way, while texting on his phone. Police said a teen came up to him and grabbed the phone, then took off running. The victim chased after the teen, and a UCPD officer driving a patrol car on Shattuck saw them run out into the intersection. The officer said the teen turned around and began throwing punches at the victim, then chased the victim down into the BART station. The officer followed them into the station, found the teen on the lower train platform and arrested him. The victim sustained minor injuries during the encounter. The victim’s property was recovered and returned. Police identified the thief as 18-year-old Flavio Villegas. He remains in custody, with a bail of $50,000, and is set for a pre-trial hearing May 7 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

The Berkeley Police Department includes this disclaimer: “Please note that these are Calls For Police Services (CFS) only and are subject to review and reclassification. Learn more about calls for service near specific locations with CrimeView Community and”

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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  • bingo

    Can we please do sting operations or something for these ubiquitous cell phone punch and grabs? Apple and the other cell phone companies have a responsibility to make the phones useless after theft as well.

  • Tizzielish

    This report states that on April 22nd a thief broke into a vehicle but appeared to take nothing. If the person did not steal anything, is it accurate to refer to her or him as a thief?

  • iicisco

    Apple, Nokia, Samsung and the list goes on don’t truly want to develop a concrete anti-theft program because it’s a profitable business. You loose your $500 dollar phone, that will be $100 (if you have insurance). What this you don’t? Sorry, but you’ll have to pay full retail and CA Sales tax. Just imagine how many people replace their smartphone in California let alone across the U.S.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    It’s a question of intent, is it not?

  • Guest

    He certainly stole the $____ that it will cost to replace your window.

  • Bill N

    Interesting article in the Chron today about this very thing.

  • punaise

    A woman who had parked her [car] …said she found it missing at about
    10 a.m. Sunday.

    If she found it, how is it missing? Or did she just miss finding it? :~)

  • Fran Haselsteiner

    I totally agree that the phone makers should do better. I’ll point out that if they did actually make the phones useless after theft, you might not want to do it right away. Example: my hairdresser kept all her clients’ numbers on her cell (she doesn’t own a computer). So when her phone was stolen, she still called her voicemail to get her messages, so she didn’t lose business. Just an FYI.

  • fran haselsteiner

    Are you an existentialist?

    If a tree falls in the forest ….

  • guest

    You have a gift. Where were you when Slemp was assembling his team?

  • bingo

    I don’t know about that argument–I have read it elsewhere, but if you take a look the car industry had a huge theft problem in the 70’s and 80’s and then introduced a lot of anti-theft measures that dropped rates substantially. When the first phone manufacturer goes and provides a service or some notion that your phone won’t be a $500 piece of thief candy then it will likely get a huge volume of support/sales and the other manufacturers will be left scrambling to catch up. Security here is a big market opportunity.

    My feeling is that this comes down to more of a privacy issue. But there are non-tracking methods for discouraging phone theft.

  • guest

    For all the people saying that the phone companies need to “make the phone useless after it is stolen” is foolish. A phone is just a piece of hardware. You can’t make it useless unless you do some kind of physical damage to it. Plus, if you do report it stolen, the phone company will help you track it down through its simcard. Criminals know this though and often will destroy the simcard soon after the robbery. The point is, you can’t make a piece of hardware useless unless you damage it physically.

  • PragmaticProgressive


    Check out the Ethicist’s column in this Sunday’s NY Times. He answers two separate questions and comes down clearly on the side that a bad thief is still a thief, because of the underlying unethical intent:

    Technically, neither [perp in the two cases disussed] succeeded at her goal. No one was damaged. But I’m not interested in the outcome. I’m interested in the intent. If we accept that “stealing is wrong” and “cheating is wrong,” and we have some proof that someone tried to steal and someone tried to cheat, their level of aptitude should not have an impact on how those wrongs are sanctioned.

  • Charles_Siegel

    The mobile industry isn’t doing enough to prevent cellphone theft or to help its victims, The New York Times said in a recent front-page article.

    Theft of mobile devices is on the rise. In some cities, notably
    Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, it represents a significant portion
    of all robberies.

    Device manufacturers could offer tech solutions to help quickly trace
    devices or disable them once they are reported stolen, law enforcement
    officials told the Times. Although thieves could circumvent such measures, that likely would require effort sufficient to dissuade some thefts.

    The situation is similar to the wave of auto thefts a decade ago, the
    officials said. When manufacturers started building antitheft devices
    into cars, that crime wave receded.