16-year-old girl found naked, pepper-sprayed in Elmwood

A 16-year old girl was found at Ashby and Piedmont Avenues this morning. She was naked and may have been sexually assaulted. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, April 17: The San Francisco Police Department has taken over this case. According to KTVU, “The girl initially told authorities she had been kidnapped and robbed in Oakland and then dropped off in Berkeley. Oakland Police said the case could be related to human sex trafficking. Then they turned the case over the SFPD after the girl changed her story.” SFPD will investigate the case as a kidnapping and robbery, but not a sexual assault.

Update, 7:25 p.m. The Oakland Police Department released the following statement at 4:45 p.m.: “Investigators have learned this incident occurred in another jurisdiction. The victim is a juvenile. This case may be associated with human sex trafficking.” Any instance in which a minor is induced to engage in prostitution or other commercial sex acts is considered sex trafficking; the Alameda County district attorney’s office has made the reduction of these activities a priority.

Original post: A teenage girl who may have been sexually assaulted was found naked and suffering from pepper spray in the Elmwood district early Wednesday morning, according to Berkeley Police scanner traffic, authorities and media reports.

Residents in the 2900 block of Piedmont Avenue, near Ashby Avenue, were awoken shortly after 5 a.m. to the sound of the girl screaming, “Help me,” according to scanner traffic recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside. 

The 16-year-old girl told authorities she had been raped. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley warehouse fire started accidentally; Wooden Duck not insured for content loss

The remains of the Import Tile warehouse that burned on April 12. Photo: Evelyn Larsen
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The fire that erupted in a West Berkeley warehouse on Saturday, seriously damaging or destroying numerous businesses, started accidentally, according to fire officials.

“There didn’t seem to be any indication this was a malicious fire,” said Berkeley Fire Department Deputy Chief Avery Webb. “The investigation is ongoing but they have ruled out a malicious origin.” … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

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Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Photo: Tracey Taylor

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.15.14

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Councilmen: Time is now to discuss Tasers in Berkeley

Councilman Laurie Capitelli. March 5, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Three Berkeley City Council members are bringing the issue of Taser use by local police to the forefront with a proposed council agenda item currently set for consideration in early May.

Councilman Laurie Capitelli has drafted an item to request a report from the city manager about the possible use of Tasers by police in Berkeley, along with consideration of the idea by the city’s Police Review Commission.

Capitelli said it was last week’s violent attack on a Berkeley Police officer at Aquatic Park that brought about the current proposal. A man has been charged with attempted murder in that case. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley 14-year-old photographer goes to White House

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Andrei Crandall, a 14-year-old student at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley, got the opportunity of a lifetime recently when he was invited to the White House by the President’s personal photographer, Pete Souza, and ended up snapping his own shots of Barack Obama.

Andrei and his two mothers, Kathleen Crandall and Lori Gitter, were invited to meet Souza on Sunday March 30 for a private tour of the photographer’s offices in the executive building, as well as the West Wing and the Oval Office.

The middle schooler was then invited back the following day to the White House to take photographs of the President at the ceremony on the South Lawn honoring World Series winners the Boston Red Sox.

Crandall took pictures alongside photographer Chuck Kennedy in a special area set aside for the White House photographers.

It all started over a year ago when the then 13-year-old emailed Souza asking him for advice, and Souza not only responded, but became something of a mentor for the aspiring snapper.

But the path to the White House started even further back than that, as Crandall showed promise from an early age. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 3-9

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of 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 crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. See recent Berkeley crime coverage here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From March April 3-9, there were 11 burglary reports21 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and eight stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comThree robbery and 11 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries were reported. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor's Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Thursday, April 3

Five thefts or burglaries from vehicles were reported: at 12:30 a.m. in the 2700 block of Stuart Street; at 8 a.m. in the 1200 block of Haskell Street; at 3:03 p.m. in the 2400 block of Durant Avenue; at 4 p.m. in the 100 block of Seawall Drive; and at 10:45 p.m. in the 2200 block of Parker Street.

A robbery was reported at 2:30 a.m. at Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street. … Continue reading »

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Review: Berkeley Playhouse’s ‘Spelling Bee’ is a winner

Spelling
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If you only see one musical this year… you don’t go to enough musicals, my friend. But you’re in luck: Berkeley Playhouse has opened a one-month run of the Tony-award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The show is a winner on its merits — with a sweet, funny, rollicking story — but also provides a great opportunity to appreciate how theater works to create place, mood and emotion out of seemingly thin air.

The musical, which originated as an improvised skit set in a school spelling bee, involves a handful of finalists in the titular Putnam County bee, along with moderator, Rona Lisa Peretti (proud champion of the 3rd annual bee), troubled Assistant Principal Douglas Panch, and “comfort counselor” (a parolee armed with hugs and juice boxes), Mitch Mahoney.

The show is reminiscent of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (coming in Berkeley Playhouse’s 2014-15 season) in having adults play children, though there are adults, both present, and painfully absent, here too. Spelling Bee contains some wonderful (verging on the heartbreaking) acknowledgment of the impact of adults on a kid-centric world, e.g., in the “tiger parenting” that drives contestant Marcy Park, or the void that contestant Olive Ostrovsky hopes desperately to fill. … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley resident assaulted in SF for wearing Google Glass

Kyle Russell photo by Karyne Levy
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Berkeley resident Kyle Russell was assaulted while walking down the sidewalk in San Francisco’s Mission District on Friday last week because he was wearing Google Glass. The incident follows other similar assaults in San Francisco, which has also seen protests against Google and other tech companies for what is perceived to be their detrimental impact on the city. In January, activists also turned up at the home of a Google staffer who lives in Berkeley. Russell wrote about his experience for Business Insider where he works:

A colleague and I had just finished covering a march in protest of a Google employee who had recently evicted several tenants after buying and moving into a home in the area.

After more than an hour spent working on the story in a coffee shop, I arranged my laptop, camera, and notes in my backpack. Mindlessly, I put on Google Glass instead of squeezing it in with the rest of my things.

(In retrospect, I can see how that might not have been the best idea.)

The aforementioned colleague and I were on our way to the 16th Street BART station — I’ll note that I wasn’t using any device at the time — when a person put their hand on my face and yelled, “Glass!” … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.14.14

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Who makes the best burger in the East Bay?

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It’s time to reach some important conclusions in Nosh-land. We want to know where you go to eat what you consider to be the best burger in the East Bay.

It’s not like we’re not spoilt for choice: when Berkeleysider Ira Serkes recently turned to his friends on Facebook to ask them where he should go for a burger, he was inundated with suggestions. Some of those recommendations included Café Rouge, Eureka, Smokehouse, Zut!, Al’s, Sidebar, TrueBurger, Fat Apples, In ‘n Out, Bongo Burger, Yoshi’s, Christopher’s, Chop Bar, the Paragon, The Station, Gather and Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café. … Continue reading »

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See plans Tuesday for new downtown Berkeley hotel

A 16-story hotel has been proposed on Center Street at Shattuck Avenue. (Click for more detail.) Image: JRDV Urban International
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A 16-story high-rise hotel under consideration in downtown Berkeley is making its way through the city approval process, with three preview meetings already completed before city panels related to development decisions. No votes have yet been taken, but are expected in the coming months.

The hotel, proposed by Jim Didion and Center Street Partners LLC, would replace the 1970s-era one-story Bank of America building and parking lot at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. If approved, the project would transform one of the most visible corners in downtown Berkeley.

An open house about the project is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15, from 5-7 p.m. at the Marsh Theater, 2120 Allston Way. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s long-shuttered UC Theatre to get new life

UC Theater rendering
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For the last seven years David Mayeri has had a dream: to refurbish the old UC Theatre on University Avenue, which has been closed since 2001, and re-open it as a state-of-the art concert venue.

Mayeri, the former chief operating officer of BGP, the successful concert company started by Bill Graham, has come tantalizingly close over the years to pulling off the project. He got city approval to refurbish the 1,400-seat landmarked theater in 2009 and seed money from the now deceased millionaire music lover Warren Hellman. … Continue reading »

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