Category Archives: Crime

Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Jan. 14-20

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Jan. 14-20, there were reports of seven robberies18 burglaries17 assaults or batteriesseven weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 12 stolen vehicles10 disturbances and 26 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Three burglaries and a stolen vehicle were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). The following items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. Arrested individuals listed in this blotter are presumed innocent.

Thursday, Jan. 14

A vehicle was stolen at 6 p.m. from Curtis Street and University Avenue.

There was a felony assault or battery at 6 p.m. in the 3300 block of King Street.

There was a robbery at 8:47 p.m. in the 2300 block of Shattuck Avenue.

There was a commercial burglary at 10:15 p.m. in the 2400 block of Sacramento Street. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Premier Cru paid its tech staffer in wine

Seven customers are suing Premier Cru, a wine retailer at 1011 University Ave., for not delivering wine they had purchases. Photo: Gordon Commercial Realty
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Update 2/6/16: The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into Fox Ortega Enterprises, which owns Premier Cru.

Court documents filed by the bankruptcy trustee on Feb. 5 disclosed that”the FBI is investigating this matter.” Previously, the FBI Had only acknowledged it was taking calls from disgruntled customers.

Original story: As John E. Fox, the co-owner of the embattled wine retailer Premier Cru was struggling with his company’s enormous debt, he asked if he could charge $25,000 on his IT technician’s credit card.

Brian Nishi, a computer expert who had worked for Fox for 20 years, agreed, according to court documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. But when Fox could not repay Nishi, he gave him $25,000 worth of wine instead, according to court documents.

For that reason, the U.S. Trustee for Region 17 is objecting to the hiring of Nishi to help search through a secret computer that Fox may have used to keep track of his debts. Tracey Hope Davis wrote to bankruptcy judge William J. Lafferty that Nishi, who was also Premier Cru’s in-house tech specialist since 2008, had a conflict of interest. … Continue reading »

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Truck used for ‘smash and grab’ at Berkeley liquor store

Pic-n-Pac. Photo: Aureliano Buendia
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Suspects drove a truck into the Pic-n-Pac Liquor store at 1296 San Pablo Ave., at Gilman Street, early Thursday morning and stole the lion’s share of the store’s inventory, according to authorities.

UPDATE: Scroll down to see dramatic videos from the burglary.

“It appears that the suspects backed a truck into the front of the business before 4:11 a.m.,” Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats told Berkeleyside. “Two suspects entered the business and attempted to steal the ATM machine.”

The suspects were unable to get the ATM machine and fled the area before the police arrived, Coats said. The suspects caused significant damage to the business and the owners lost most of their inventory. … Continue reading »

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Crime

4 teens arrested with 2 guns after Berkeley robbery

There have been at least 25 robberies in Berkeley so far this month. Image: CrimeMapping.com
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Police recovered two guns and arrested four teenage boys, including a 14-year-old, after a robbery in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood Saturday night.

Lt. Alyson Hart said police received a call at 9:20 p.m. about an armed robbery that had just taken place at College Avenue and Parker Street.

Responding officers tried to stop a vehicle they believed was linked to the crime, but “it took off and shortly after crashed into a fence at Derby and Warring.” … Continue reading »

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Ex Donkey & Goat staffer to face trial for wine theft

A picture of the workers and volunteers helping out on the 2014 harvest. Morgan Hall is in front and Zach Gomber is at the top on the left. Photo: Donkey & Goat
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When Jared Brandt, co-owner of Donkey & Goat Winery, went to do inventory shortly after he fired three employees suspected of stealing wine, he discovered nine empty boxes that had been taped up to look as if they were full.

The empty boxes were hidden on the bottom rows of pallets stacked with 55 cases of wine, according to Brandt, who made the discovery in October 2014. Among the missing wines were numerous bottles of 2005 Broken Leg Pinot Noir, made from a vineyard in the Anderson Valley the year his oldest daughter was born.

“It had sentimental value because it was 12 to 17 bottles of my daughter’s birth year and it’s gone now,” said Brandt. The wine was worth about $700, he said.

Brandt’s testimony about the empty boxes came during a four-day preliminary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court from Jan. 25-29 to determine whether there was probable cause to hold three former employees over for trial. In the end, Judge C. Don Clay determined that Zachary Gomber, 29, who worked for Donkey & Goat on and off for three years, should face two felony counts of embezzlement and receiving stolen property. Clay ruled that Kate Sylvan, who worked in the tasting room once a week for just five months, should also face a felony count of receiving stolen property. But he dismissed the felony embezzlement charge against Morgan Hall, once Donkey & Goat’s tasting-room manager and part-time bookkeeper. Instead, Judge Clay determined that Hall should just face a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Jan. 7-13

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Jan. 7-13, there were reports of three robberies17 burglariessix assaults or batteriestwo weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 12 stolen vehiclesseven disturbances and 10 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. An assault, a burglary and a stolen vehicle were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). The following items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. Arrested individuals listed in this blotter are presumed innocent.

Thursday, Jan. 7

Someone broke into Haas Pavilion and stole clothing and food worth $620 between Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. and Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

There were two home burglaries, at 1:20 a.m. in the 1700 block of Walnut Street, and at 10:25 a.m. in the 2700 block of College Avenue. Police arrested Colby Dudley, 26, and 24-year-old Matthew Henderson in connection with the incident on Walnut. Dudley remains in custody with a bail of $40,000 at Santa Rita Jail, while Henderson is being held with a bail of $35,000. They are scheduled for a pretrial hearing Feb. 2.

The California Highway Patrol chased a stolen tow truck in Berkeley, but ended the pursuit when the driver reached freeway speeds on city streets, authorities said. Oakland CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld said the CHP got a call before 4 a.m. about a stolen tow truck on Gilman Street west of I-80. The driver fled before a roadblock was established. The driver fled east on Gilman, said Wilkenfeld, but “due to the suspect’s excessive speed on city streets and reckless driving behavior we terminated the pursuit.” The tow truck was recovered later in the morning after it was abandoned in Oakland. Wilkenfeld said officers terminated the chase due to public safety, and noted that sirens were used “so that any pedestrians or vehicles in the area are aware of the danger and so that the suspect cannot later claim that they did not know we were behind them.” (This item first appeared on an earlier blotter for timeliness.)

A woman with a gun shot herself outside Berkeley’s Old City Hall. She later died. She was identified as 63-year-old Shelley Bergum of Berkeley.

A vehicle was stolen at 3 p.m. in the 2800 block of Woolsey Street.

There was a felony assault or battery at 10:35 p.m. in the 2000 block of Allston Way.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police make arrest in 2014 Berkeley killing

The killing took place in the parking lot of Seabreeze Market. Photo: Brian Costales
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An Oakland man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the fatal shooting in 2014 of 21-year-old Damarco J. Thomas.

On Saturday, police arrested Keivon Burnette on a warrant in Oakland at 9:25 a.m. after working on the case for more than a year, said Carolyn Jones, East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman.

Jones said authorities believe the shooting happened when a group from Oakland tried to rob a group from Stockton during what was supposed to be a marijuana sale in the Seabreeze parking lot Oct. 28, 2014. Members of both groups were armed, Jones said.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Teen with gun spotted near Berkeley High, detained

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley authorities detained two people — one of whom was spotted with a gun — Wednesday afternoon in what school officials say was a continuation of problems that began downtown Tuesday when a group of teens assaulted a BHS student.

Officers have not yet recovered a firearm, according to the 7:19 p.m. statement released by Berkeley High School Principal Sam Pasarow, but they are continuing to search for it in the area around campus.

According to the statement, a BHS staff member spotted a non-student with a gun at 4:15 p.m. near the eastern side of campus, on Milvia Street.

Berkeley police officers responded immediately, Pasarow said, and detained that person and a second non-student. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley teen arrested with gun amid fights downtown

Berkeley Police cruisers. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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An 18-year-old from Berkeley was arrested with a loaded gun Tuesday evening after authorities responded to reports of large groups of youth fighting in the streets downtown, police said.

Shortly after 7 p.m., a Berkeleyside reader reported a “heavy” police presence downtown, and asked for more information.

Berkeley Police Lt. Dan Montgomery told Berkeleyside that police had been alerted earlier in the evening to a group of about 60 young adults “pushing and fighting” in the street in front of Papa John’s, on Shattuck Avenue between Allston Way and Kittredge Street.

A caller also reported that one member of the group pulled out a gun during the disturbance.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley man set to enter plea in death threats case

Image via Facebook
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A Berkeley man is facing extortion and criminal threats charges, both felonies, after authorities say he sent bizarre emails to a former friend, demanding $25,000 and threatening to kill him and his family.

Jesse Gilbert, 38, has been in custody since his arrest in late October. He is scheduled to enter a plea in the case next week in Alameda County Superior Court.

According to court papers, the victim told police he got six emails from Gilbert, some of which demanded money. Lines quoted by police reportedly from the emails included: “I will put you through a meat grinder if you don’t pay me $25,000” and “If I do get the ability and you don’t pay I will kill you.”

The emails also included phrases, according to court documents, such as “I may be putting thee in a ditch all while watching you twitch,” “You are at the top of my list,” “My business partners might blast you in daylight in the middle of the plaza” and “not to mention some dudes who know how to cut heads off.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley marijuana dispensary robbed at gunpoint

The Berkeley Patients' Group has distributed free medical cannabis for years to low-income patients. A new law passed by the  Berkeley City Council codifies this and requires dispensaries to give away 2% of its cannabis to the poor.
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Police are looking for three masked robbers with a gun who tied up a security guard and took several trays of marijuana plants from a Berkeley medical cannabis dispensary over the weekend while the business was closed.

The robbery took place Sunday just before 1:20 a.m., said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, when three people went into the parking lot of the Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) dispensary at 2366 San Pablo Ave., near Channing Way.

A security guard was posted in the parking lot. No other employees were on site.

“The suspects approached the guard, one armed with a gun,” said Coats. “The guard was tied up. The suspects entered the business and forced the security guard to lay on the ground.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 12/31-1/6

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Dec. 31 to Jan. 6, there were reports of five robberies14 burglaries11 assaults or batteries, three weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also five stolen vehiclesfour disturbances and 24 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A weapons call and a burglary were reported by the University of California Police Department (UCPD). The following items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. Arrested individuals listed in this blotter are presumed innocent.

Thursday, Dec. 31

UCPD arrested David Rivera, 24, on an Oakland Police warrant related to hit-and-run causing injury, and driving on a suspended license. He was arrested at 2:22 a.m. at Channing Way and Telegraph Avenue and taken to Berkeley Jail for booking. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Jan. 27 at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, and is no longer in custody.

There was a disturbance call at 1:38 a.m. at Channing Way and Bonar Street.

Two vehicles were stolen, at 11:10 a.m. in the 2400 block of Ashby Avenue, and at 9 p.m. in the 1500 block of Woolsey Street. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Gun violence makes for busy weekend for Berkeley police

Police responded to two shootings in South Berkeley over the weekend. Locations are approximate and reflect only the block. Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley police handled two significant incidents over the weekend involving gunfire, one that sent a man to the hospital and another that led to the arrest of three 18-year-olds.

Police have been unable to respond to a request for information about the incidents, so Berkeleyside reviewed scanner transmissions to learn, at least preliminarily, about what took place. The information that follows has not been confirmed, but this story will be updated if details are provided by authorities.

Saturday, police responded to a home on Stuart Street, near California Street, after a man called police to report that he had been shot in the leg. Paramedics took the man to Highland Hospital for treatment, but he was not cooperative, according to scanner recordings.

(Update, 6 p.m. A brief statement from police appears at the bottom of this story.)

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