License plate hit on robbery getaway car leads to arrest

A police officer takes a statement at the scene of a robbery at Stuart Street and Benvenue Avenue on Saturday, May 13. Photo: David Yee

An Oakland teenager has been charged with a felony after authorities connected him to two robberies near UC Berkeley in mid-May, police report.

One of the robberies included threats of a gun, said Capt. Ed Spiller of the Berkeley Police Department.

Lawrence Wesley Williams III, 19, is no longer in custody, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office. He is scheduled to enter a plea in the case Tuesday, May 30.

Spiller said the first robbery, of a pedestrian, was May 12 in the 2500 block of Etna Street at 9:10 a.m. A wallet and cellphone were taken. The next day, at 3:25 p.m., there was a second robbery, at Benvenue Avenue and Stuart Street. Again, a wallet and phone were taken. The descriptions in both cases were similar, police said.


During the second robbery, police were able to identify the license plate of the getaway car, Spiller said. But it was a brand new plate that had just been entered into the system so initially it was a dead end. BPD investigators spread the word to surrounding law enforcement agencies to let them know the vehicle should be stopped if spotted.

Friday, the Oakland Police Department saw the vehicle and stopped it in that city. Police arrested Williams, who was charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office Monday with one count of second-degree robbery, which is a felony.

Williams’ bail went down from $100,000 initially to $10,000, and he has since been released from custody, according to records online.