Category Archives: Crime

Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Jaywalkers beware, flyaway drone damage, pilfered postage stamps, found ammo, more

Police say this Ford was used in Monday's robbery. Photo: BPD
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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 by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From April 7-13, there were reports of eight robberies10 burglaries20 assaults or batteriesno weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 12 stolen vehicles16 disturbances and 29 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two sex crimes were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals in this blotter are presumed innocent. Find our April 7-13 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

2 BOTCHED CAR THEFT ATTEMPTS AT BART A thief tried to steal a maroon 1994 Toyota Corolla while it was parked at the North Berkeley BART station between 4:15 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. April 14. The driver’s door lock and ignition were damaged. The same day, someone tried to steal another 1994 Toyota Corolla from the station between 8 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. The ignition wires were cut and the ignition switch was damaged.

STOLEN CROSS Someone stole a 12-inch brass crucifix worth $40 from 2223 Fulton, room H, sometime between March 10 and April 15, UCPD reported. It’s under investigation.

DRONE DAMAGE A security officer at the Doe Library on the UC Berkeley campus reported “damage to roof tiles caused by a fly away drone” April 20 at 5 p.m. The drone owner is listed as a 22-year-old male student. It’s under investigation, UCPD reports.

COFFEE COMMOTION? A female student reported being the victim of “battery via coffee” at about 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union building on campus. A man in his 60s wearing brown clothing was reported to be the culprit. No further information was provided.

STEPPED UP TRAFFIC SAFETY ENFORCEMENT BPD plans to “step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations” Friday, April 29, with a focus on “pedestrian safety and collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians,” the department reported earlier this week. Police also said there will be more motorcycle officers on duty through June 31 “conducting enforcement and educational efforts based on data from prior collisions.” … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student arrested after fraternity rape report

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house on Piedmont Avenue
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Update, 4 p.m. The district attorney’s office declined to file charges in the case. According to office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick, “Based upon a review of the evidence presented by the Berkeley Police Department, we have declined to file criminal charges.” Berkeleyside removed the student’s name, and several identifying details, in light of this new information.

Original story, 7 a.m. Authorities have arrested a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student on suspicion of rape in connection with a case from earlier this year reported to have taken place at a fraternity party near campus.

The Berkeley Police Department arrested the young man at 7 a.m. Thursday after serving a search warrant at his fraternity house at 2395 Piedmont Ave., at Channing Way, authorities said.

UCPD identifies that location as Phi Gamma Delta, a fraternity that is not officially recognized by the CalGreeks organization.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel, BPD spokesman, said the arrest was in connection with “an on-going sexual assault investigation.”

According to a statement released by UCPD on Feb. 22, the victim had attended a party at a fraternity house in the 2300 block of Piedmont three days earlier, on Friday, Feb. 19. The sexual assault took place between midnight and 12:45 a.m. Saturday in a room at the fraternity, which was not named.

According to the UCPD statement, “a report was made to a Campus Security Authority who is required under the Federal Clery Act to report it to the campus Clery Compliance Officer. UCPD is in turn required to alert our community of the crime.” … Continue reading »

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Police arrest 3 after armed, masked restaurant robbery series, 9 in Berkeley

Approximate, block-level, locations of seven of the nine restaurant robberies in March and April. Source: CrimeMapping/Berkeleyside
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Police arrested three men Friday after an investigation into a series of robberies that saw armed, masked perpetrators holding up a total of 23 restaurants in the Bay Area, nine of which were in Berkeley.

The “take-over-style” robberies began at the beginning of March, according to a Nixle alert sent out by BPD at around 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel, spokesman for BPD, said the suspects were masked and had guns. He described a “take-over-style” robbery as those using  “force and fear.”

The three men arrested were Kristoffer Jones, 18, of Albany; Shawan Spragans, 40, of Oakland; and Merl Simpson, 46, also of Oakland.

The 23 restaurants — primarily in Berkeley, San Francisco, San Leandro, Albany, Oakland and Hayward — were being targeted shortly before, or just after, closing time by the same suspects, according to the BPD statement.

The break in the case came just after midnight Friday, April 22, when the men attempted to rob a bar in San Francisco that was under surveillance by the San Francisco Police Department. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Sister of man charged with 2 murders takes the stand

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot, courtesy of NBC Bay Area
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The older sister of a Berkeley man who could face the death penalty if found guilty of two fatal shootings in 2013 testified on his behalf Monday, but her testimony may have done more harm than good.

Chastity Williams, sister of Darnell Williams Jr., told the jury why she instructed her son — struck by a fragment from a bullet he said his uncle fired — not to talk to police about what he’d seen. She also disputed her son’s story that he would get “a whuppin” if he didn’t keep quiet.

“He fibs,” she said of her son, who was 7 at the time of shooting. As to why she told him not to speak with police, she said: “As a parent, I wanted to figure out what was going on first before Elliot spoke to anyone. He’s a kid. Why would I want to put my child through that?”

On cross-examination, however, Williams admitted to having told police her son was “very accurate.” She repeatedly changed her story and tried to explain inconsistencies in her statements. Direct examination, by the defense, lasted less than 15 minutes. Prosecutor John Brouhard then questioned her for nearly two hours on cross-examination.

Read complete coverage of the case.

Williams said her son made up the threat of a beating to try to stop authorities from questioning him after the Sept. 8, 2013, shooting that killed 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III in West Berkeley. Police arrested Darnell Williams, then 22, near the scene. The two young men were both familiar faces in what some who live in the area call “the Waterfront” neighborhood and hung out with the same friends.

Defense attorney Darryl Billups, who called Chastity Williams, 27, to the stand, asked if she had been trying to protect her brother when she told her son not to speak with police. She said that had not been her goal.

When she walked up to the stand Monday morning, Williams gave a little wave and smile to her younger brother as he sat at the defense table. Seeing the friendly face was likely a change for the defendant, who has not had any apparent supporters in the courtroom over the past month. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley killings get spotlight in death penalty case

Anthony Medearis' aunt wore a lanyard and memorial photograph of her nephew to court this week. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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One month into the trial of a Berkeley man charged with two murders, who could face the death penalty, his defense attorneys are slated to begin to present evidence to the jury Monday.

Darnell Williams Jr., 25, is accused of killing 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, who happened to be a guest at a sleepover at an apartment targeted by a man the prosecution has said was bent on revenge for the killing in Berkeley earlier that day — July 17, 2013 — of a close friend.

Less than two months later, Sept. 8, authorities say Williams opened fire on 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III as Medearis ran from him, pleading for his life. The two were fixtures in the same West Berkeley neighborhood and hung out with the same group of friends. Authorities have said Williams planned to rob Medearis and considered him a snitch who deserved to die for talking to the police.

Alaysha’s killing — described by the prosecution as the intentional gunning down of children — horrified the broader Bay Area community. Medearis’ shooting, though heinous and senseless, did not strike the same chord. His family, a near-daily presence in the courtroom, has been the first to acknowledge it. But they’ve said they’ve come to see Medearis’ death as a path to justice for Alaysha.

“My baby was an angel,” said Medearis’ mother, Dolanda Medearis, during a recent break from court. “Had he [Williams] not killed him, he could have gotten away with killing that 8-year-old girl.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Boyfriend charged with attempted murder after double shooting in Berkeley

Police watch over the scene where two people were shot on Tremont Street, near Prince Street, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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A San Jose man has been charged with shooting his girlfriend in the head and opening fire on her male friend as the two sat in a car in South Berkeley in mid-March.

Anthony Burton, 44, was charged Thursday by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with six felonies: two counts of attempted murder; corporal injury to a relationship partner; assault with a semiautomatic weapon; shooting at an occupied motor vehicle; and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to court papers, Burton shot his girlfriend in the head, and her male friend “about five times in the face and body,” as they sat in a car on Tremont Street near Prince Street, not far from the Ashby BART station.

Both victims survived but are still recovering, police said last week. Police have not released many details about the case. According to court papers, investigators identified Burton as the shooter, and noted that he was in a dating relationship with the female victim.  … Continue reading »

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3 teens arrested after Berkeley student fights downtown

Police responded to downtown Berkeley on Thursday for youth fighting. Photo: Siciliana Trevino
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Is it just that time of year again? Three high-school-aged students were arrested Thursday after fights broke out among youth in downtown Berkeley, authorities said.

Berkeleyside was reporting similar news last year in April.

Lt. Alyson Hart, the Berkeley Police watch commander Thursday evening, said there had been some type of disturbance at lunch involving Berkeley High School students, leading school and police authorities to be on alert when BHS let out due to rumors that problems would continue.

Not long after school ended for the day, at 3:30 p.m., Hart said police received numerous reports of youth fighting downtown. There were multiple groups of students who were “running around everywhere.”

Originally, the BART Police asked for help to handle reports of fighting on the platform at the downtown Berkeley station.

“There were a bunch of little different skirmishes or reports,” Hart said. “Around City Hall also.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Teen raped on Grizzly Peak, high-speed chase on Dohr, fake report of shooter on campus, more

A reader asked Berkeleyside: "Why are there 10 cop cars necessary  for this biz?" Photo: Dana Kleinhesselink
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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 by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From March 31 to April 6, there were reports of six robberies19 burglaries11 assaults or batteriesthree weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also eight stolen vehicles21 disturbances and 28 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A sex crime, a burglary and three vehicle thefts were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals in this blotter are presumed innocent. Find our March 31 to April 6 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

DISCONNECTING PHONES ON THE BART TRACKS Tuesday at about 11:30 p.m. officers responded to both Berkeley BART stations for a man walking on the tracks while intoxicated and disconnecting emergency phones along the way, the BART Police reported. “Power was shut down on both track ways, and medical personnel staged as officers eventually managed to safely detain the suspect in the underground tunnel/track way between the two stations. Officers determined the suspect was too intoxicated to care for himself, in addition to his trespassing on the track way, and placed him under arrest for both violations. As a precaution, medical personnel cleared the suspect before he was booked into the Berkeley City Jail. Due to this incident, trains were delayed for approximately 30 minutes; nothing unusual was located on the incident track way.” The man’s name was not released. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police make arrest in double shooting

A car where two people were shot sits on Tremont Street near Prince Street, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Photo: David Yee
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Authorities have arrested a 44-year-old transient man from San Jose in connection with a double shooting near the Ashby BART station in March that left a man and woman with serious injuries.

A deputy with the Sacramento County sheriff’s office arrested Anthony Burton on Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. after finding him asleep in his car, which had set off an alert from the officer’s automated license plate reader.

The officer saw that Burton was wanted in connection with an attempted homicide case from Berkeley, and took him into custody on the warrant. The vehicle, a 2008 Mazda 5, had been parked outside a Denny’s in Sacramento at 5120 Interstate Ave.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department said Berkeley detectives later picked up Burton from the Sacramento County sheriff’s office. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of attempted homicide. Frankel said he couldn’t share any details about the possible motive in the case, but confirmed the shooting was not random.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police seek help identifying shooting suspect

Screen Shot BPD video
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Berkeley police are asking for the community’s help to identify a suspect who shot at a homeless man in downtown Berkeley in the early hours of April 14.

Nixle alert released by BPD on Tuesday at around 3 p.m. includes a video which shows the suspect aiming and firing a gun (see below).

Police said that Thursday at approximately 3:35 a.m. dispatch received a report of shots fired in the 2100 block of Kittredge Street. Once on scene, officers talked to what they describe as the intended target of the shooting, a 39-year-old homeless man, who was not hit or injured by the gunfire.

The man said he had been standing in front of 2165 Kittredge St. when the suspect, who was in the parking lot near the gas pumps of Touchless Car Wash at 2176 Kittredge, began shooting at him. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man assaulted with metal bat in South Berkeley

Police responded to an assault Sunday on Adeline south of Ashby. Photo: Alissa Greenberg
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Update, 6:28 p.m. BPD’s Sgt. Friedman said the victim and assailant had a dispute inside the Black & White liquor store shortly before the beating: The suspect left and returned armed with the bat, which was aluminum.

Friedman described the assailant as a black woman in her 30s, 5 foot 2 to 5 foot 5 inches tall, about 200 pounds. She wore a straight black wig or weave down to her mid-back, and was dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt or jacket, blue plaid pants and a bright red rectangular shoulder bag with a black strap. The woman left in a black Chrysler Sebring.

The victim, a man in his 20s, is expected to survive.

Said Friedman, “There were several witnesses to the incident but we are still investigating. We ask anyone who knows the identity of the suspect, or who witnessed the assault, to please contact BPD at 981-5900 as soon as possible.”

Original story, 3:52 p.m. Berkeley Police officers were on the scene Sunday afternoon at Ashby Avenue and Adeline Street, across from the Ashby BART station, after a man was reportedly assaulted by someone with a metal bat, authorities said.

Passers-by alerted Berkeleyside to the incident, and said the metal bat could be seen in the roadway Sunday afternoon. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Apple store theft alert, threats of shooting — over stolen steak — at Berkeley Bowl, more

Police are looking for these two men in connection with the theft of an iPad at a Berkeley Apple store. Photos: BPD
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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 by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From March 24-30, there were reports of four robberies18 burglaries16 assaults or batteriesthree weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 14 stolen vehiclesnine disturbances and 40 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two robberies, two burglaries and two vehicle thefts were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals in this blotter are presumed innocent. Find our March 24-30 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

APPLE STORE IPAD THEFT Police are looking for two men they say stole an iPad from the Berkeley Apple store earlier this month. On April 3, the men entered the store, at 1823 Fourth St., and left with the iPad. According to a police statement released Thursday, “At this point we don’t believe the theft is related to any ongoing thefts from Apple Stores in the Bay Area. Based on the quality of the video we hoped to enlist the community’s help in nabbing this duo.” The department can be reached at 510-981-5900, or by email at police@cityofberkely.info. The photographs appear above. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Newly found photo could bolster prosecution’s case in Berkeley-Oakland death penalty trial

Darnell Williams Jr. mugshot, courtesy of NBC Bay Area
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A Berkeley man facing multiple murder charges may have inadvertently tipped off the prosecution to a notable piece of evidence by insisting he get access to material on his old cellphone.

Police had confiscated the phone of Darnell Williams Jr. at the time of his arrest in Berkeley in 2013. He has been charged with the murders of an 8-year-old girl in Oakland and a 22-year-old father with ties to the same West Berkeley neighborhood where Williams lived. The trial began two weeks ago. If convicted, Williams could face the death penalty.

Thursday, after excusing the jury until Tuesday morning, attorneys and Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner stayed on in the courtroom to update the written record following two conversations they’d had earlier in chambers.

The defendant’s cellphone was the topic of those conversations. The defense team had, for some time, been pushing prosecutor John Brouhard to turn over all material from the phone at their client’s urging. Police had tried in the past to download texts and other information from it, but been stymied by technical difficulties.

Defense attorneys “thought it was a really stupid and bad idea”

This week, the Fremont Police Department was able to download the entirety of the phone contents. Brouhard said a review of those records led to the discovery of a photograph that shows a pistol that could have been used to kill 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine in July 2013. She had been playing at a friend’s house during a sleepover and was not the intended target. Three other people, two children and their grandmother, were injured. … Continue reading »

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