Pair arrested in Berkeley after armed robbery spree

Police arrested two men on suspicion of robbery during a vehicle stop in South Berkeley on Friday. Photo: Yvonne Paytosh
Police arrested two men on suspicion of robbery during a vehicle stop in South Berkeley on Friday. Photo: Yvonne Paytosh

Police have arrested two men they say confessed to three armed robberies — at two Berkeley convenience stores and an El Cerrito fast food shop — over a period of about 10 hours Friday.

One of the men told police he was responsible for two other armed robberies in Alameda County on Jan. 31, according to court papers.

Following a report of Friday’s third robbery, a Berkeley police officer spotted the gold van the men were reported to have been driving, and pulled them over to make the arrest. The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged the pair Monday with four counts of second-degree robbery in connection with the Feb. 6 incidents.

According to court papers, 25-year-old David Tafel and 57-year-old Elmore Shivers robbed the 7-11 at 2887 College Ave. (at Russell Street) at 1:35 a.m. Friday. Video surveillance showed a man entering the store and brandishing a gun at the cashier behind the counter. The gunman was followed inside by a second man, who put a plastic bag on the counter. The man with the gun can be seen, police wrote, pointing the gun at the clerk, who hands over the cash.


Officers responded to the store but the suspects were gone.

At 5:14 a.m., police said the men robbed Nation’s Giant Hamburgers on Central Avenue in El Cerrito. Two men went inside, and one collected money while the other brandished a gun. The El Cerrito Police Department is completing that case report.

Finally, at about 11:45 a.m., police wrote, the men went into Derby Food Center, at 2707 College — just south of Derby Street, and about three blocks from the 7-11 robbery —  and used a gun to rob the business of about $200.

Police found the stolen cash and a gun inside the gold van during the vehicle stop, about a mile west of Derby Food Center, on Ashby Avenue east of Harper Street. The men were arrested without incident.

Police also recovered several hypodermic needles in Shivers’ sock, according to court papers. One of the needles contained suspected heroin, police wrote.


Police wrote that the men also appeared to be wearing some of the same clothing at the time of their arrest as they wore in the 7-11 surveillance footage.

Both men confessed to the three Berkeley robberies, according to police, and Tafel also confessed to two robberies in Alameda County on Jan. 31, in Berkeley and Albany; no further information was provided in court documents about the Jan. 31 incidents.

The Feb. 6 incidents resulted in four felony counts of second-degree armed robbery against both men. Tafel was charged with two additional felony counts of second-degree armed robbery for the January incidents.

Shivers, who was on probation at the time of his arrest, has seven prior felony convictions in Alameda County dating back to 1981: for commercial burglary that year; for unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle in 1987 and 1991; for possession of marijuana for sale in 1996 (two convictions); and for possession of a controlled substance in 2000 and 2010. He was sentenced to prison after most of those convictions.

Tafel has no prior felony convictions, according to court documents, but he would be eligible for a prison sentence if convicted in the new case.


Both were charged Monday at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

The men remain in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Tafel with a bail of $900,000, and Shivers with a bail of $500,000. The date for their next court appearance was not available as of publication time.

Read more about recent robberies in Berkeley. Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook.

Related:
Berkeley police ask for help to find suspect after iPhone robbery of elderly man (video) (01.30.15)
After ordering pizza with stolen card, teen charged with 4 armed robberies in Berkeley (01.26.15)
More details emerge on UCPD carjacking, robbery arrests (12.22.14)

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