Dead-end street stymies trio after computer theft at Berkeley coffee shop

Police units are parked near Prince and Dana streets following a stop of suspects in a nearby theft Sunday. Photo: David Yee

Three teenagers were arrested Sunday night after one of them grabbed a computer from a coffee spot near campus that’s frequented by UC Berkeley students, authorities report.

Police stopped a 19-year-old from Oakland and two Vallejo teens after they drove down a dead-end street, pursued by the victim, near the scene of what initially was reported as a robbery.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel, Berkeley police spokesman, said BPD got a call at 9:55 p.m. that three people, 16-20 years old, were inside a coffee shop in the 2700 block of College Avenue: “As they were leaving, one of them grabbed a laptop from a table and ran.”

The coffee shop was identified over the police scanner, reviewed by Berkeleyside, as Sack’s Coffee House at 2701 College Ave.


The laptop owner ran after two members of the group who got into a car waiting on nearby Derby Street, Frankel said.

“The victim and another witness from the café drove after the suspect vehicle while calling police,” Frankel said. They followed it south on Regent Street from Ashby Avenue “before they realized it was a dead end.”

The thieves ran from the car, and police stopped them nearby at Prince and Dana streets, Frankel said. Officers found the stolen laptop inside the abandoned vehicle.

BPD identified the suspects as 19-year-old Khamarron Johnson, and two minors — ages 16 and 17 — from Vallejo. The law considers the crime grand theft, rather than robbery, because it did not involve force or fear.

Johnson was charged with grand theft and entered a plea of not guilty Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court, according to records online. No further information was available about the younger teenagers due to privacy laws that protect minors.


Johnson has been released after posting a bond for $20,000 bail. He is set for a pretrial hearing Thursday, according to Alameda County jail records online.

The Sunday night laptop snatch followed a similar report Friday at College and Derby at 2:50 p.m., according to police records online. Several individuals grabbed a laptop and ran from the location, according to scanner recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside. BPD did not provide information on that incident or say whether the two could be related.