Category Archives: Crime

Crime

‘Pizza delivery’ police nab armed robbers in Berkeley

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun. Photo: Kris Vera-Phillips
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Police officers pretending to be pizza deliverers captured three people linked to an armed robbery early Monday morning in North Berkeley.

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun.

According to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the robbery took place just after 1 a.m. when two people with a gun robbed a pedestrian of his backpack at Acton and Delaware streets near the North Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »

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Crime

San Leandro man to face murder, gang charges after 2013 Berkeley killing

Photo: Krishna Ferreira, via Facebook
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A 24-year-old San Leandro man has been ordered by a judge to face charges in the murder case against him for a fatal shooting in Berkeley last year.

According to evidence presented by authorities this month in the case against Krishna Ferreira, the victim had been a member of the West Side Berkeley gang who had fallen out of favor with his comrades — and been “green lit” for punishment — when he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while he was incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail in 2012.

The victim, 24-year-old Dustin Bynum of Berkeley, was shot to death outside Bing’s Liquors in West Berkeley in August 2013.

This month, beginning Nov. 4, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon Nakahara considered the case against Ferreira to determine whether the district attorney’s office had enough evidence against him for the prosecution to move forward to trial. The preliminary hearing — where authorities present their evidence and the defense has a chance to question it — ended Tuesday afternoon with a ruling from Nakahara in favor of the prosecution.

Berkeley Police Officer Stephanie Polizziani — an area coordinator, former jailer and one of the department’s two gang experts — testified over the past week that Ferreira is an active member of the West Side Berkeley gang, which is affiliated with, and answers to, the Norteño prison gang. According to Polizziani, the Norteños have handed down orders to its affiliates to “take care of their trash” — in reference to former gang members who had been “jumped out” or dropped out of active gang activities.

Polizziani said Bynum — who was known as “phatboy” on the streets — fell into this category after he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while locked up at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in 2012. Three members of the gang attacked him, and “jumped him out” of the gang. He was then removed from the housing area where other Norteños are incarcerated and moved into an area where those seeking protective custody or who are cooperating with law enforcement are placed. He was also, according to Polizziani, put on the gang’s “bad news list,” or BNL. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Nov. 6-12

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is an overview of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Nov. 6-12, there were reports of 15 burglaries13 auto break-ins or thefts from vehiclessix stolen vehicles and nine disturbances, according to CrimeMapping.com. Ten robberies14 assaults or batteries, three weapon-related calls and two sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included two robberies, two sex crimes and a burglary. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please do not hesitate to share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will let us know — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch.

Thursday, Nov. 6

Authorities searched a South Berkeley home in the early morning hours in connection with a fatal shooting at the Seabreeze market in October. Read more on Berkeleyside.

There was a robbery at 2:25 p.m. at Virginia Street and Stannage Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Teen now faces murder, attempted rape and robbery charges in McClellan killing in South Berkeley

A 2011 photograph of Kamau Berlin. Source: Facebook
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The Alameda County district attorney’s office on Friday charged 18-year-old Kamau Berlin with murder in the stabbing death of 72-year-old Nancy McClellan in South Berkeley in September.

Berlin — a B-Tech student — also has been charged with attempted rape, attempted robbery and attempted carjacking, as well as elder abuse resulting in death.

He appeared in court Friday morning, as did about half a dozen family members and supporters, and had been scheduled to enter a plea in the case.

Berlin’s plea was postponed until Jan. 9 due to the addition of significant charges in the case.

His family declined to comment to the media Friday morning.

See Berkeleyside’s complete coverage of the case.

Also in attendance were about nine of McClellan’s supporters from the Berkeley Zen Center. McClellan was mortally stabbed Sept. 19 after leaving a wedding at the center, near Russell and Otis streets.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 10/30-11/5

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, there were reports of 21 burglaries19 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and six stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comFive robberies20 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and one sexual assault were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included a burglary and a vehicle theft. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please do not hesitate to share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will let us know — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch.

Thursday, Oct. 30

A felony sexual assault was reported at midnight at Piedmont Avenue and Parker Street.

There were two robberies, at 12:26 a.m. at College Avenue and Webster Street, and at 11:03 a.m. at Hearst and McGee avenues.

There were two home burglaries, at 4 a.m. in the 1500 block of Oxford Street, and at 4 p.m. in the 2500 block of Hillegass Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police search South Berkeley after Seabreeze homicide

A search warrant operation in South Berkeley woke many residents early Thursday. Photo: A citizen reporter
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Authorities conducted a warrant search in South Berkeley early Thursday that was connected to a fatal shooting last week at the Seabreeze Market.

The Berkeley Police Department put out a notice Thursday evening about the operation after receiving “several inquiries” from community members about the disturbance.

According to the statement, the operation — which had been organized and carried out by the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department — took place in the 1500 block of Harmon Street early Thursday morning.

The Seabreeze is in Berkeley but is located within Park District boundaries near University Avenue and Interstate 80, en route to the Berkeley marina. Last week’s fatal shooting took place Tuesday, Oct. 28 shortly before 8 p.m.

According to a local resident who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, Thursday’s operation began shortly before 5 a.m.

“It started with 4 flash bangs in succession … then a slight pause, then one more flash bang,” he wrote, adding that he was “woken up by the noise.” (A video of those flash bangs follows.) … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Oct. 23-29

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Oct. 23-29, there were reports of 13 burglaries33 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and six stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comNine robberies17 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and no sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included a burglary, three robberies and a weapon-related call. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thursday, Oct. 23

There were two felony assaults or batteries, at 4:29 a.m. at Ashby Avenue and Seventh Street, and at 12:41 p.m. in the 1700 block of Fourth Street.

A home was burglarized at 9 a.m. in the 1300 block of Curtis Street.

A man linked to an armed carjacking in West Berkeley over the weekend, after reportedly ditching another stolen vehicle, was charged Thursday with the Oakland murder of a 78-year-old man. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man killed near Seabreeze market in West Berkeley

The killing took place in the parking lot of Seabreeze Market
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Update: Oct. 31: East Bay Regional Park District police identified the man shot and killed Tuesday night as 21-year-old Damarco J. Thomas of Stockton.

Investigators are looking for information on cars that might have been on the scene of the Tuesday shooting, according to a press release. They want information on a white Ford or Chevy style pick-up truck, extended cab, possibly a side step model. Investigators are also looking for a man spotted in the vicinity, described as a heavyset black male in his late 20s to early 30s.

Update Oct. 30: Sgt. Tyrone Davis of the EBRPD police said that video taken at the scene indicated the victim knew his assailants. “It appeared based on the interaction that prior to the event they knew each other.” Davis said it looked like there were three people at the scene at the time of the shooting. The victim was shot multiple times. Police have not yet released his name.

Original story: A man in his 20s was shot and killed Tuesday night in the parking lot of a market near the Berkeley Marina, according to East Bay Regional Park District police.

Berkeley police received a call around 8 p.m, that there had been some sort of disturbance at the Seabreeze Market, which is located at the corner of University Avenue and West Frontage Road. They arrived to find a man, whose identity was not released, lying on the ground. EBRPD police arrived as well. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Oct. 16-22

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Oct. 16-22, there were reports of 16 burglaries28 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and 13 stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comEighteen robberies14 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and two sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included one weapon-related call. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thursday, Oct. 16

There were two home burglaries, at 12:01 a.m. in the 2200 block of Parker Street, and at 6 p.m. in the 2100 block of Byron Street.

A vehicle was reported stolen at 6 a.m. in the 2300 block of Howe Street.

Police responded to a disturbance at 7:30 a.m. in the 500 block of Arcade Avenue.

There was a felony assault or battery at 12:24 p.m. in the 1900 block of Allston Way. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High staffer injured, 15 students suspended, due to 500-strong student mob involving bullying, drinking

Rally Day in 2012, the last one to happen after it was canceled due to what the district said was
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A Berkeley High staffer was sent to the hospital Friday with a head injury sustained during what the school describes as a mob scene involving an estimated 500 students “participating in hazing and bullying behavior,” chanting and throwing objects, including glass bottles.

Berkeley police were called to help BHS administration and safety staff control the crowd of mostly juniors and seniors that gathered on the campus quad at around 3:45 p.m. While trying to break up the mob, two additional staff members were hit, according to Jorge Melgoza, vice principal of Berkeley High, who sent an email to the school community about the incident that was delivered on Saturday.

Fifteen students were found to be intoxicated and were suspended Friday. None were injured and no arrests were made. … Continue reading »

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Woman killed in South Berkeley remembered as artist, humorist, lover of plants and pets

Nancy McClellan. Photo: David Gallagher
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On Russell Street a tree is blooming. Tibetan prayer flags are strung across its branches in a rainbow of color. White paper tags that flutter, holding messages of hope and healing, are its blossoms. Looking closer, one might notice laminated photographs and Buddhist passages hanging from the boughs, bouquets of flowers at its base.

The tree stands outside the Berkeley Zen Center, a Buddhist meditation group whose roots date back decades in South Berkeley. The memorial was created to honor Nancy McClellan, the zen center’s head gardener, who was mortally stabbed after leaving a wedding at the center in mid-September. McClellan died in October after being removed from life support when she failed to recover from the injuries she sustained the sunny Friday afternoon she was attacked less than a block from her beloved garden at the zen center.

Having just lost a friend to illness, McClellan spent much of the wedding telling those around her that she loved them, friends recalled.

Friday, Oct. 24, the 18-year-old man who has been charged with trying to kill 72-year-old McClellan after a failed carjacking is set to enter a plea in that case. Kamau Berlin of Richmond — a student at nearby B-Tech — has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with attempted murder and attempted carjacking. Berkeley police said, after McClellan’s death, the charge would likely be upgraded to murder.

Sunday, the Berkeley Zen Center held a memorial for McClellan to allow for “final goodbyes” from members of the meditation community, as well as others who knew McClellan.

This month, close friends of McClellan who live around the Bay Area have grappled with their grief, particularly as some thought at first she might recover from the brutal attack.

“I’ve had a hard time getting her out of my mind these last few weeks,” said Karl Anderson, a Castro Valley man who knew McClellan for more than two decades. “She probably looked like an easy target but, in fact, she must have fought back and that was what happened, knowing her. I can imagine she’d say, ‘Oh, no you don’t.’ She would not give in.”

Continue reading »

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Crime

1 held, 1 freed in Berkeley hatchet homicide

The man police believe was Berkeley's first homicide victim of 2014 lived in this building on Addison Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A judge has freed a woman arrested after the killing of a Berkeley man in February, but ruled Thursday that her boyfriend must face the murder charge against him in the case.

Late Thursday afternoon, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon said enough evidence had been presented for 29-year-old Michael Diggs to continue to face prosecution in the Feb. 28 homicide of Sylvan Fuselier in his West Berkeley home.

A woman police said was Diggs’ accomplice in the case, 41-year-old , will not be prosecuted, and is set to be released from custody. She has been incarcerated without bail since March 31. Her attorney, James Giller, said her involvement amounted to “pure speculation,” and the judge ultimately agreed to drop the murder charge against her.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley carjacking suspect charged in Oakland murder

Bennie Williams. Image: OPD
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A man linked to an armed carjacking in West Berkeley on Sunday, after reportedly ditching another stolen vehicle, has been charged with the Oakland murder of a 78-year-old man the same day.

Bennie Williams, 26, has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with the murder earlier on Sunday of Warner Willis.

Willis was found stabbed to death in his bungalow in the 1400 block of Chestnut Street at approximately 9:15 p.m., according to the Oakland Police Department.

Williams was apprehended by police several hours earlier, though authorities initially did not know about the alleged link to the Oakland crime.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, Williams used a gun Sunday just after 4:45 p.m. to steal a 38-year-old woman’s vehicle at the SeaBreeze market in Berkeley near West Frontage and University Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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