Sex offender arrested after kidnapping, sexual assault attempt

Police have arrested a 60-year-old parolee and out-of-compliance sex offender after they say he kidnapped and tried to sexually assault a woman early Tuesday morning in North Berkeley.

According to unconfirmed scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, neighbors in the 1000 block of Monterey Avenue, near Colusa Avenue, called police when they heard a female screaming for help at around 3:30 a.m. She managed to walk to a nearby house to wait for police after the man drove off with her cellphone.

Police quickly tracked the phone and found the driver, later identified as Whittier Buck Buchanan, in his red van traveling east on Hearst Avenue near Chestnut Street, according to the unconfirmed recordings. That’s about 1.5 miles from the 1000 block of Monterey. (The Berkeley Police Department has thus far declined to comment on the case.)

According to the state Megan’s Law sex offender database, Buchanan is from Richmond but had no registered street address on file. He was released from prison in 2014 after convictions in Alameda County in 1996 for sexual battery by restraint, three counts of rape by force or fear, and two counts of forced oral copulation involving a child under 14 — also known as lewd acts with a child. At the time of his release, according to a state assessment, he was ranked a “2,” meaning authorities believed he had a low- to moderate-risk of offending again. Another law enforcement site describes that risk level as “average.” (The highest-risk offenders are category 10.)


Police arrested Buchanan on Tuesday morning on suspicion of assault with intent to rape, kidnapping to commit rape, parole violation, being a sex offender who failed to report his address, and narcotics violations, according to online records from the Berkeley Police Department. He works as a salesman, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s office Inmate Locator website.

Police have not released the age or city of residence of the victim.

Buchanan was scheduled for arraignment Thursday morning, according to online records from the sheriff’s office. His bail initially was listed as $217,500, but he is ineligible for release due to the parole violation. He’s scheduled for a hearing on that violation May 16.

Berkeleyside has requested charging information in the sexual assault case from the Alameda County district attorney’s office, and comment from BPD, and will update this story if it is provided.

[Correction: An earlier version of this story mis-identified the attempted sexual assault as rape due to the penal code sections listed during booking. That has been corrected.]