Category Archives: Crime

Former UC Berkeley staffer sentenced for stealing $400K

Lawrence Hall of Science. Photo Wikimedia Commons
Print Friendly

A former UC Berkeley staffer has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to repay the nearly $400,000 embezzled from the educational program she worked for, federal prosecutors and the FBI said.

DeSondra Michell Ward admitted in February to stealing $389,948.57 while working at the university’s Lawrence Hall of Science, and was sentenced Tuesday in Oakland by district magistrate Jeffrey White.

As part of the plea deal, Ward admitted to gaming the university’s travel system (an Expedia- or Priceline-like online travel booking website) to buy airplane tickets for friends, family, and herself — for personal purposes — as well as selling the tickets for a profit to others, according to a statement from federal prosecutor Brian Stretch and FBI special agent John Bennett.Continue reading »

Tagged ,

Man stabbed in neck at People’s Park

People's Park
Print Friendly

An unidentified woman stabbed a 57-year old man in the neck Monday around 5 p.m. at People’s Park, according to the University of California Police Department.

The Berkeley Fire Department took the man to a local hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, said police.

No arrests have been made. Police believe the suspect and the victim knew one another based on a statement the victim made to an uninvolved individual. The victim has refused to cooperate with … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Police end manhunt in Eastshore Park for man with a rifle

Berkeley Police don bullet proof vests to search for a man reportedly walking through the Marina with a rifle. Photo: Terri Kay
Print Friendly

Update: 6:55 p.m. Berkeley police have just issued a Nixle alert to say the search for a man reported to have carried a rifle into Eastshore Park has ended. For the last six and a half hours, Berkeley police, the East Bay Regional Park District police, and the California Highway Patrol have been looking for a man in a yellow shirt who reportedly took a rifle over the pedestrian overpass over I-80 and walked into the park. All roads leading into the park and next to the park have been reopened. The EBRPD police took control of the search in the afternoon and made the decision to end the manhunt, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, who was the acting watch commander on duty Tuesday night. … Continue reading »

Tagged

Berkeley police emphasize ‘culture of de-escalation’

Berkeley police practice de-escalation skills during a drill in the old Pyramid brewery. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Two officers pull up to a house in Berkeley. There’s yelling coming from inside: Roommates are fighting about the rent and police have been dispatched to respond.

As the officers approach, the roommates come outside, still fighting. One of them has a gun. Seeing police, he grabs his roommate, holds him at gunpoint and drags him back inside.

The officers are ordering him to drop the gun but he refuses.

“We want to keep you guys safe,” an officer yells to the man.

“We’re safe. Go find some real shit to do!” the man yells.

“What do you need from us?” asks the officer.

“I need you to leave, bro,” the man replies.

The officers spend several more minutes trying to speak with the man: to have him toss his gun outside, send out his roommate, or provide his phone number so police can call him rather than shouting through the open doorway.

But he doesn’t come out. Instead, a trainer in a red shirt calls “time” and the officers, from the Berkeley Police Department, circle up to discuss the drill. It was one of three scenarios they ran through Thursday inside the vacant Pyramid brewery on Gilman Street in West Berkeley.

The goal of the training was to practice using verbal de-escalation tactics instead of force. It’s an approach the department already prides itself on using on a daily basis. But, as police shootings and use of force continue to draw increased scrutiny nationwide, the department says it is stepping up its efforts to ensure officers use those skills in Berkeley whenever possible.

“The Berkeley Police Department has a culture of de-escalation,” said Sgt. Spencer Fomby, a BPD use of force instructor and a leader on its tactical team. “We look at things differently. We try to take a different approach. You can tell by the outcomes that that is our goal.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Police: Possible BB gun used in Berkeley students’ assault

I-House. Photo- UC Berkeley
Print Friendly

UC Berkeley Police reported that a man began shooting at a group of UC Berkeley students early Monday morning. The weapon may have been a pellet or BB gun, police said. Nobody was seriously hurt, but one victim sustained a minor injury and was treated at a local emergency room.

According to UCPD, the assault happened at about 12:22 a.m. at International House, at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way. Eight Cal students were standing and sitting on the steps outside International House, also known as I-House, when they noticed a man standing across the street holding what appeared to be a gun. It was later determined to be possibly a pellet or BB gun.

The suspect started shooting the gun towards I-House and the students ran inside.

Witnesses who spoke to the police reported that there may have been a second male suspect who was letting off fireworks.

One victim was taken to the hospital to be treated for a minor injury. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,
Crime

Berkeley crime log: Sex offender arrested after stalking, homeless man charged in baseball bat assault, more

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. (Click "show crime report" to see the list.) See the map key here.
Print Friendly

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.

SNAPSHOT From June 30 to July 6, there were reports of nine robberiesfive burglaries10 assaults or batteriesthree weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 13 stolen vehicles15 disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A sex crime, a vehicle theft and a vandalism, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD); we’ve filled out the blotter with tidbits from the UCPD crime log. Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the June 30 to July 6 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

ANOTHER STOLEN CATALYTIC CONVERTER A thief stole a catalytic converter from a 2008 Honda Element parked at the North Berkeley BART station between 7:15 a.m. and 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, the BART PD reports. It may be the first time since February this type of theft has been reported at a Berkeley station. (Berkeleyside broke the news at that time of a series of similar thefts impacting people who were parking at East Bay BART stations.) The BART PD arrested two people in March it believed was responsible for multiple incidents of catalytic converter theft. Catalytic converters are a target for thieves because they contain precious metals — including platinum, palladium and rhodium. In addition, their location makes them relatively easy to steal.

DISTURBANCE ARREST AT ASHBY BART A man detained by the BART Police on suspicion of creating a disturbance at the Ashby station July 9 shortly before 5 p.m. was found to have two outstanding misdemeanor vandalism warrants. The arrest warrants, out of San Francisco, totaled $17,000 in bail. The man was placed under arrest and booked into the county jail. His name was not immediately available. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,
Crime

Berkeley crime log: Probation search nets loaded gun, ID and fraud arrests, animal shelter burglary, more

Police said they found this loaded gun during a probation search earlier this week. Photo: BPD
Print Friendly

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.

SNAPSHOT From June 23-29, there were reports of six robberiesseven burglaries24 assaults or batteriesone weapon-involved call and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 14 stolen vehicles14 disturbances and 26 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two robberies, two vehicle thefts and an assault, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD); we’ve filled out the blotter with tidbits from the UCPD crime log. Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the June 23-29 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

PROBATION SEARCH NETS LOADED PISTOL Berkeley police arrested an Oakland man earlier this week after they stopped him for a vehicle code violation and found a loaded pistol under his seat, authorities report. The car stop took place Wednesday, July 13, at 11:25 p.m. in the 2100 block of Kittredge, said Lt. Kevin Schofield, a Berkeley Police spokesman, in response to a Berkeleyside query. The driver, Aaron Davis, had no valid driver’s license and was on probation, said Schofield. Police searched the vehicle and found the loaded gun. Davis was taken to Berkeley Jail and booked on suspicion of several firearm-related felonies and probation violation. He is scheduled for a hearing to revoke his probation Monday, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $105,000. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Man kisses 2 UC Berkeley students without consent; police seek other victims

Memorial Glade is a popular spot on the UC Berkeley campus (file photo). Photo: Daniel Parks
Print Friendly

Police are looking for a man who kissed at least two UC Berkeley summer school students without consent and may have groped one of them over her clothing.

The University of California Police Department put out a safety alert Wednesday afternoon about the sexual battery case, which took place in Memorial Glade on Tuesday, July 5.

According to the notice, police have identified a person of interest. He is described as a white man, about 50 years old “who may seem younger in appearance.” He looked to be 5 feet 9 inches tall and 135 pounds, with brown hair and brown or hazel eyes.

“Some might have observed his prominent cheekbones and/or noticeably dark beard stubble on his face. He was possibly dressed in a casual manner and carrying a camera, skateboard and/or backpack,” UCPD reported.

Police are trying to find out if there may have been other victims.

UCPD asks anyone with more information “or who experienced a similar incident on or near the UC Berkeley campus (whether on July 5, 2016 or another day)” to call or visit the UC Berkeley Police Department. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,
Crime

Crime calls: Gunfire on Stuart, battery arrest, psych eval

Readers often ask Berkeleyside about public safety incidents, like this arrest on Milvia Street on Tuesday. Photo: Jeannie Choe
Print Friendly

Berkeleyside got several questions Tuesday about police activity in town, including an investigation into gunfire on Stuart Street that damaged a vehicle, an arrest downtown after a fight, and an agitated man who ended up being taken for a psychiatric evaluation in South Berkeley.

The Berkeley Police Department responded at about 8:40 p.m. to the 1900 block of Stuart Street, said Lt. Dan Montgomery, weeknight watch commander. There had been reports of possible gunfire.

Officers found no victims, but they did discover one vehicle that had been hit three times by gunfire and left at the scene. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Crime

Berkeley crime log: Man threatens to shoot BART agent, 2 stabbed near farmers market, tragic drowning of teen

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. (Click "show crime report" to see the list.) See the map key here.
Print Friendly

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.

SNAPSHOT From June 16-22, there were reports of six robberies14 burglaries16 assaults or batteriesfour weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 14 stolen vehicles16 disturbances and 39 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A vandalism and a weapons call, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD); we’ve filled out the blotter with tidbits from the UCPD crime log. Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the June 16-22 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

CRIMINAL THREATS, PSYCH EVAL AT BART A man who threatened to shoot a station agent at the downtown Berkeley BART station was arrested last week, July 6, and taken for a psychiatric evaluation. The agent told the BART Police the man, after fare evading, had threatened to shoot him at about 10:25 p.m.: “As the officer prepared to transport him to jail, however, the suspect physically resisted and refused to be placed in a patrol car. The officer, joined by an assisting officer, used physical force/control holds to restrain the suspect, who also made verbal threats to harm himself. Paramedics responded and eventually transported the suspect to a local hospital, along with a police hold, for a psychiatric evaluation; he was also issued a prohibition order.” No injuries were sustained by anyone involved with the arrest, the BART Police reported. (No further information was available because the case number did not appear linked to any active case with the district attorney’s office, according to available online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.) 

DNA LINKS MAN TO 2008 SEXUAL ASSAULT SERIES The Berkeley Police Department has linked a series of sexual assaults and prowling cases from 2008 to a Berkeley man who would have been 16 at the time of the attacks, authorities report. Police announced the arrest last week of 24-year-old Johnny Dunbar. After collecting his fingerprints for the first time when he was stopped in connection with a traffic violation in March, investigators discovered that his prints matched a palm print left at a 2008 rape scene, police said. Further testing, of Dunbar’s DNA, also tied him to multiple sexual assaults, according to authorities. Police said Dunbar would break into his victims’ homes and threaten them with a knife or gun before sexually assaulting them. Dunbar is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail. He is scheduled to enter a plea Monday, July 18, according to sheriff’s office records. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,
Crime

Man arrested at BART after knife threats, shirt burning

A man died earlier this week after passing out at the Ashby BART station. Photo: Michael Patrick
Print Friendly

A man who set his shirt on fire after threatening people on a BART train with a knife was arrested in Berkeley late Monday afternoon, authorities report.

According to a brief notice released by the BART Police on Monday night, the man was riding a Fremont-bound train when he began to threaten people with the knife.

BART officers responded to the Ashby station, at 3100 Adeline St., to intercept the train and detain the man at about 4:40 p.m.

According to BART, the man got off the train at Ashby, then set his shirt on fire on the platform.

When he left the platform, a train operator was able to extinguish the flames. (BART PD clarified after publication that the man was not wearing the shirt when he set it on fire.)

Officers found the man and took him into custody at gunpoint, according to the BART Police.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,
Crime

Robber punches woman in North Berkeley, takes bag

There have been more than 145 robberies reported to the Berkeley Police Department this year. Source: CrimeMapping
Print Friendly

A 52-year-old Berkeley woman who was walking alone near the Gourmet Ghetto was attacked and robbed Sunday in broad daylight.

The woman was walking at 12:35 p.m. near Henry and Vine streets when a man came up to her, punched and kicked her, and pulled her black backpack away from her, said Berkeley Police Lt. Kevin Schofield, a department spokesman.

The woman sustained minor injuries during the robbery.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,
Crime

Authorities: DNA and fingerprints match 2008 Berkeley sex assaults where rapist broke in with knife, gun

Image via Facebook
Print Friendly

A 24-year-old Berkeley man has been charged with four felonies linked to the sexual assaults of at least three female victims in the summer of 2008.

Police say Johnny Dunbar — then 16 — confronted all three victims in their homes while wielding a knife or gun. Berkeleyside was the first to report the arrest after seeing Dunbar listed in custody. The ages of the victims were not released.

In the first incident, on June 21, 2008, the victim reported her home had been burglarized. She later told police a knife-wielding man had raped her. Police found a palm print on the windowsill where the burglar had forced his way inside, according to court papers.

Less than three weeks later, July 8, the victim was in her home “when she was confronted by a suspect with a gun.” He forced her to orally copulate him, then raped her. DNA from that scene matched evidence from the first incident. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,