Masked gunmen have committed a spate of robberies around Berkeley in the past few days, targeting businesses and pedestrians, authorities say.
There were six armed robberies between Tuesday and Thursday alone, police said in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry Friday. That’s not counting two armed robberies last week, of the 7-Eleven store on College Avenue in the Elmwood neighborhood. Multiple readers have been asking Berkeleyside for information this week about the crimes.
“Berkeley is way out of control and I no longer feel safe here,” one woman wrote, along with her request for information. “I was born here.”
BPD provided brief descriptions Friday of each of the recent incidents.
Wednesday, May 16, 3:30 a.m.: A man in a mask armed with a handgun robbed the 7-Eleven clerk, at 2887 College Ave., of money and merchandise.
Sunday, 3:30 a.m.: A man and woman, both in masks, robbed the Elmwood 7-Eleven at gunpoint. Police are investigating whether the two incidents are related.
- Tuesday, 6 p.m.: A man in a mask armed with a handgun robbed the Chevron gas station clerk at San Pablo Avenue and Gilman Street of cash.
Tuesday, 10 p.m.: A man with a gun committed a pedestrian robbery at Addison and California streets.
Tuesday, 10:30 p.m.: A man with a handgun robbed a pedestrian in the 2400 block of Prospect Street.
Wednesday, 11:30 p.m.: Two males armed with a handgun robbed a pedestrian at Channing Way and Dana Street.
Thursday, 9:30 p.m.: Two men robbed a couple at gunpoint.
- Thursday, 10:30 p.m.: A masked man with a gun robbed Farm Burger at 1313 Ninth St.
Lt. Peter Hong of the Berkeley Police Department said having so many armed robberies of pedestrians and businesses in such a short period is unusual, but occurs from time to time.
“It’s fortunate that nobody was hurt,” he said Friday.
Berkeley has averaged about a robbery a day over the past five years. Hong said Friday that about a quarter of Berkeley’s robberies in 2017 involved a gun.
Generally, there is more of a mix of armed and strong-arm robberies, he said. And it’s not uncommon for the same business to be targeted more than once.
Pedestrian robberies tend to make up the majority of the robberies in the city, with commercial robberies averaging about 30% of the total in the past three years, according to data released earlier this year by BPD. In 2017, there were 257 pedestrian robberies, 87 commercial robberies, nine home-invasion robberies, one bank robbery and 10 carjackings.
For context, the chances of getting robbed in Berkeley last year were 30 in 10,000.
Investigators are working on all the cases and ask the community to share tips, surveillance footage and anything else that might be helpful. The BPD Robbery Detail is at 510-981-5742.
(Note: Limited suspect descriptions were released because the cases are still under investigation, and also because Berkeleyside primarily aimed to report the list of the incidents overall, as well as available numerical context.)