Police officers pretending to be pizza deliverers captured three people linked to an armed robbery early Monday morning in North Berkeley.
Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun.
According to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the robbery took place just after 1 a.m. when two people with a gun robbed a pedestrian of his backpack at Acton and Delaware streets near the North Berkeley BART station.
White said the victim learned, shortly after the robbery, that his credit card had been used to order a pizza to the 1300 block of Delaware, between West and Acton streets.
“Based on this information, officers were able to contact the restaurant,” said White via email, and intercept the delivery order. Then, acting as pizza deliverers, “officers went to Delaware Street to deliver ‘the pizzas’ to the robbery suspects.”
The suspects had provided a fake address to the pizza shop, Seniore’s Pizza on Durant Avenue, so police arriving in the area called back the number provided during the ordering process.
“Officers called it back and said, ‘Hey, we got your pizzas,'” he said.
When the suspects came out of a home on the block to accept the pizzas, officers tried to detain them, but they quickly fled back inside.
Officers formed a perimeter around the house and called, using a loudspeaker, for the suspects to come outside.
A neighborhood resident told Berkeleyside he was awakened at 4 a.m. “by a nearby police bullhorn repeatedly asking someone to ‘come out with your hands up.'” He said the orders went on for 15-20 minutes.
Three people, an 18-year-old man and two male juveniles, ultimately surrendered and were taken into custody without further incident.
Inside the home, officers found the victim’s stolen property as well as a handgun.
The man who was arrested was identified by the Alameda County sheriff’s department as Berkeley resident Marcell Stargetti. He was arrested at 5:13 a.m. and is being held at Berkeley Jail with a bail of $100,000 on suspicion of second-degree robbery. He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.
The names of the juveniles arrested were not available due to privacy laws protecting minors.
White said all three were arrested on suspicion of robbery, violating a court order, possession of stolen property, and being armed with a firearm during the commission of a felony.
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