Category Archives: Crime

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.
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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.

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 »

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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
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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 »

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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
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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 »

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Crime

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

Image via Facebook
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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 »

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Crime

Police: Fingerprints link Berkeley man, 24, to 2008 sexual assault series with at least 3 victims

Police arrested 24-year-old Johnny Dunbar on Wednesday in the 1300 block of Delaware Street. Image: Google Maps
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Fingerprints collected after a traffic-related misdemeanor warrant arrest in March helped police zero in on the man they say is responsible for a series of sexual assaults in Berkeley in 2008.

Details about those assaults remain scant, but the Berkeley Police Department arrested 24-year-old Johnny Dunbar at his home in the 1300 block of Delaware Street on Wednesday on suspicion of two counts of rape, one count of oral copulation and one count of attempted oral copulation. The case involved at least three victims, police said.

See the update, with additional information about the crimes.

According to Lt. Kevin Schofield, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the department investigated a sexual assault series in 2008 that, in addition to the three victims, also involved several peeping or prowling incidents.

Despite a large amount of diligent work and undercover operations we were not able to capture the suspect,” he said, in a prepared statement. “We did obtain fingerprints at one of the crime scenes before the series stopped.” Continue reading »

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Crime

Man walking with loaded rifle, extra ammo arrested in West Berkeley

Recovered rifle and ammunition. Photo: BPD
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Berkeley police officers arrested a 35-year-old Oakland man Wednesday morning after an alert resident spotted him carrying a gun through the neighborhood, authorities said.

Leonard Jackson was walking at Eighth Street and Channing Way toward San Pablo Avenue when a concerned citizen saw him with the firearm and called 911 to report it, said Lt. Kevin Schofield, a Berkeley Police spokesman.

Officers responded immediately and spotted the man at Channing and San Pablo. Officers told Jackson to sit on the ground, and he complied.

“Officers could see a rifle barrel protruding from under a blanket in his lap,” Schofield said in a prepared statement. “The officers blocked traffic and created a safe zone to contact Jackson.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley crime log: Aquatic Park search, man sentenced after stabbing, bike thefts at BART, Explorer open house

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 9-15, there were reports of five robberies23 burglaries17 assaults or batteriesone weapon-involved call and three sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 15 stolen vehicles14 disturbances and 34 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A vehicle theft and two vandalism incidents, 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 9-15 round-up below several more recent items.

Recent public safety news

STOLEN CAR IN AQUATIC PARK The Berkeley Police Department put out a Nixle alert at about 2:20 p.m. Friday after an officer saw an occupied stolen Acura near North Aquatic Park, Lt. Kevin Schofield of BPD reports. The driver and passenger fled from the car.  Police searched for them around Bancroft Way and Aquatic Park, but were unable to find the duo. During the search, police asked the public to stay out of the area. Police spent about 10 minutes looking before calling off the search around 2:30 p.m., according to a second Nixle alert released at that time.

SMOKING ON BART, RESISTING ARREST Police responded to the downtown Berkeley station Friday, July 1, for a woman who was “smoking on a train and creating a disturbance” at about 10:35 p.m., the BART PD reported. When the BART officer arrived, the woman refused to get off the train and physically resisted the officer, authorities said. The officer used force to get the woman off the train and take her to Santa Rita Jail. BART said that, during the booking process, the woman “kicked a female OPD Officer who was assisting in searching her. A charge of assaulting an Officer was added. The suspect was also transported for a psychological exam.” She remains in custody and is scheduled for arraignment today, July 6, on the misdemeanor violations.

BIKES STOLEN AT NORTH BERKELEY BART The BART Police got three reports of stolen bikes at the North Berkeley BART station last Thursday and Friday. All of the bikes were locked. A Trek Hybrid bike valued at $500 was stolen between 7:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. It had been locked to the bike racks with a Kryptonite lock. A Cannondale hybrid also locked to the bike racks, worth $430, was stolen between 10 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. It had been secured with a Kryptonite U-lock. A brown Lemond 12-speed road bike, locked with a cable lock at 6:30 p.m. Thursday was no longer there Friday at 9 p.m. The lock was gone, too. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man arrested outside Berkeley Whole Foods after brandishing knife, resisting arrest

Whole Foods Gilman exterior Photo Emilie Raguso
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At least two Berkeley Police officers are seeking medical care after being injured during the arrest outside a West Berkeley grocery store of a man who had earlier been armed with a knife.

The man had brandished the knife at two city employees Tuesday morning, authorities said. He dropped the knife and walked away after officers arrived, ignoring repeated commands to stop, before nearing the entrance of the Whole Foods grocery store on Gilman Street. Officers then used force to take the man into custody when he would not allow himself to be handcuffed.

Berkeley Police Lt. Kevin Schofield, a department spokesman, said the man — identified as 41-year-old Jason Joyner of Berkeley — brandished a knife shortly before 9 a.m. at two city Public Works employees on duty at San Pablo Avenue and Harrison Street.

When police arrived, they tried to speak with Joyner at Harrison and 10th streets, Schofield said.

Officers ordered Joyner to stop numerous times as they continued to attempt to deescalate the situation,” he said. “Joyner ignored their repeated commands and walked away.”Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student among those killed in Bangladesh terrorist attack

Tarishi Jain. Photo: UC Berkeley
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Update July 5: Cal will hold a vigil from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday on Sproul Plaza to remember Tarishi Jain.

Original story, July 2, 8:14 a.m. An 18-year-old UC Berkeley economics student was killed sometime Friday or Saturday by ISIS gunmen who stormed a cafe in Bangladesh and hacked about 20 people to death.

Tarishi Jain of India was among those slain, according to the New York Times. Her death was confirmed by Sushma Swaraj, India’s minister of external affairs.

Scroll down for a statement from UC Berkeley.

“I am extremely pained to share that the terrorists have killed Tarushi [sic], an Indian girl who was taken hostage in the terror attack in Dhaka,” Swaraj posted on Twitter.

She was a sophomore at UC Berkeley, according to a statement released Saturday morning by the university. (Scroll down to read it.)

Jain had gone to the restaurant, Holey Artisan Bakery, in Dhaka’ s diplomatic quarter to have dinner with friends, one of her relatives told the Indian Express. Around 9:20 p.m. gunmen stormed the restaurant and took about 20 people hostage, most of them foreigners, according to news reports. They held police at bay for 11 hours. Police eventually stormed the restaurant around 7:40 a.m. Saturday and killed six gunmen, according to new reports. Thirteen hostages were rescued. … Continue reading »

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Thief punches 94-year-old ranger at home, steals coin given to her by Obama

Betty Reid Soskin. Photo: Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park
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Update July 2, 5:00 p.m. Betty Reid Soskin sent a message of thank you to all the people who donated to a Go Fund Me campaign set up in her name. People contributed $15,000 to the fund – only one of many that have been set up.

“Your gifts will help me re-establish my home on the planet and that I am grateful for, because I do not want to move. I am going to reclaim my space from the violation,” Soskin wrote. “I could not have done it without your help! There will be fresh paint, new carpeting, a restoration.

Original story: President Barack Obama has pledged to send a new commemorative coin to Betty Reid Soskin — who founded Reid’s Records on Berkeley’s Sacramento Street in 1945 and is the oldest full-time National Park ranger — after a burglar stole the one Obama gave her in December.

An intruder broke into Soskin’s second-floor apartment in Richmond around midnight Monday.

The Richmond Police Department said Soskin, who is 94, was asleep when she was woken up by an intruder in her bedroom.

“She tried to grab her cellphone to call for help but the suspect wrestled it away,” said Lt. Felix Tan of RPD. “The suspect then punched her several times in her face, causing her to fall to the floor.”

The man — described only as a man in his 20s with a thin to medium build — dragged her out of the bedroom and into the hallway where he punched her several more times. … Continue reading »

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Anonymous email threatens students at Berkeley school after Sacramento rally tied to local teacher

A police cruiser was parked outside Martin Luther King. Jr. Middle School on Monday. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Local and federal authorities investigated threats Monday targeting youth at a North Berkeley middle school by a group that demanded the termination of a teacher who protested against a neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento over the weekend.

The rally Sunday made national headlines due to violent clashes between the white supremacists who took out a permit to rally at the state capitol and the counter-protesters who showed up to confront them. According to some news reports, members of the counter-protest appear to have initiated the violence. The LA Times reported that seven people were stabbed and 10 hospitalized.

Read Berkeleyside’s July update.

One of the people who took responsibility for helping organize the counter-protest was Yvette Felarca, a teacher at North Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, at 1781 Rose St. Felarca is an organizer with the activist group By Any Means Necessary, which helped lead a series of Black Lives Matter protests in Berkeley in December 2014.

Parents of day campers were told Monday morning that one of the counter-protesters from Sacramento had been linked to the Berkeley school where the camps were located. The public outing had prompted an influx of emails to the principal demanding that the teacher be fired. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Male assaulted by group on Grizzly Peak Boulevard

Look out at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard
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A man sought treatment at the hospital after being assaulted on Grizzly Peak Boulevard about 24 hours after a robbery in the same vicinity, police have reported.

No one has been arrested.

According to a statement released Sunday evening by the University of California Police Department, the agency received a report earlier in the day about an aggravated assault at either Signpost 15 or 16 on Grizzly Peak.

The male victim, whose age was not disclosed, had been at the turnout with some friends when a fight broke out between his group and another group between 3:39 and 4:09 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police search area after report of man with rifle; no one found

Police searched a home in Southside Berkeley after a report of a man with a rifle Saturday but found no one matching that description. Photo: David Yee
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Berkeley police officers conducted what was described as an extensive search Saturday evening after receiving a report of a man in the area witnesses believed to have been carrying a rifle.

Ultimately, officers found no one matching that description, said Lt. Alyson Hart of the Berkeley Police Department.

“It’s a call that we take extremely seriously,” she said. “It’s an unusual call, but you never know.”

Hart said it’s possible that what the witnesses saw was a BB gun, or something else altogether. Sometimes, police get calls that turn out to be hoaxes too, though Hart said she didn’t think that had been the case in this instance. Without having found the man, it’s impossible to know for sure.

Initially, BPD got a report at about 6:45 p.m. that a white man in dark clothes, about 6 feet tall and 20-25 years old, was walking northbound in the 2400 block of Warring Street while carrying what the caller believed to be a rifle. He had short hair and a black jacket, with a slim to medium build.  … Continue reading »

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