Patrons fight back during armed robbery

Police responded to Espresso Roma after three males tried to steal laptops there Sunday night, a community member reports. Photo: Citizen reporter

Update, 11:10 p.m. Lt. Joe Okies of the Berkeley Police Department confirmed that a robbery, by three males with a gun, took place at Espresso Roma at 8:45 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 5. The robbers took various items and there was a scuffle, Okies said, but no injuries were reported. BPD provided the following descriptions of the individuals said to be responsible: a black male in his teens to late 20s of medium height and slim build; a black man in his 20s, medium height and build, with a dark long-sleeved shirt and dark pants, and a scarf over his face; and a black man in his 20s, with a gun, in a dark hooded sweatshirt and a dark scarf or bandanna over his face. The BPD robbery detail can be reached at 510-981-5742.

Original post, 9:54 p.m. Patrons at a popular Berkeley café on College Avenue fought back when three people with a gun tried to take their laptops and other items Sunday night, a witness to the crimes told Berkeleyside on condition of anonymity.

A woman who was in Espresso Roma, at 2960 College Ave., shared a description of events, which took place shortly before 9 p.m.

She was sitting in the back room of the café, on the ground floor, when all of a sudden she saw a male “flying (headfirst) down the stairs” with another male “attached to his back.”


She continued: “Scuffle scuffle. No hitting from what I can tell. Just grabbing.”

Three males then ran around the cafe trying to grab laptops and other property, but customers would tackle them to get their stuff back, the woman said. About 10 people were in the back room at the time.

“It looked like they were going to do a sweep from the front door to the back door and just get what they could,” she said.

Then, one of the robbers pulled a gun.

Customers continued to try to tackle the robbers, but were also concerned about the weapon and “everyone backed off.”


The witness said the group managed to get one laptop before running out the back door and onto Ashby Avenue.

“Police are here dusting for prints and taking interviews,” she said, at about 9:35 p.m.

She said, too, she’d had a strange feeling Sunday night, and wanted to take extra precaution about getting home.

“I drove to the café so I could drive door to door,” she wrote. “Didn’t think this … would happen inside the café.”

Sunday night’s incident followed at least six robberies in Berkeley on Saturday night.


Berkeleyside has asked BPD for further information and confirmation about what took place at the café. This post will be updated when that becomes available.