Tag Archives: Berkeley crime

Crime

3 sexual assaults reported at Diplo’s ‘Mad Decent Block Party’ in Berkeley; 2 victims were Cal students

Berkeley's Greek Theatre is a popular concert venue (file photo). Photo: Thomas Hawk
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Reports have been coming out from authorities throughout the day Monday about what is now described as at least three sexual assaults during a concert at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre on Saturday night.

The University of California Police Department did not name the concert, but the event is listed online as Diplo’s “Mad Decent Block Party” tour. The 18-and-over concert was listed as sold out on the organizer’s website. (Berkeleyside has reached out for a comment but had not heard back as of publication time.)

According to three statements put out by UCPD on Monday, the agency got a report at 7 a.m. Sunday of a sexual assault that had taken place at the concert: “The unaffiliated female victim was attending the concert and met a stranger who sexually assaulted her at the event.”

UCPD spokeswoman Sgt. Sabrina Reich said she could not release the victim’s age or any other information about her or the incident. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police seek 2 teens after armed robbery

Police cruisers, January 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Police responded to an armed robbery report involving juveniles at Stuart and California streets in South Berkeley on Saturday just before 9 p.m.

Berkeley Police Lt. Alyson Hart, watch commander, said two juveniles with a gun walked up behind another youth and robbed that person. She said both suspects wore dark hooded sweatshirts and jeans.

According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, two individuals identified as juveniles robbed another youth of a backpack and phone at about 9 p.m. or several minutes earlier.

The victim was identified over the scanner as a 13-year-old boy.

The robbers were identified as two black teenagers, 15 and 16 years old, who ran west on Stuart from California after the incident. They appeared to be 5 foot 7 and 150-200 pounds, one in a black hooded sweatshirt and another in a red hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. They were armed with a handgun, according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Breaking: Berkeley police respond to stabbing, crash

Berkeley police are having a busy night Saturday. Photo: Alan Dyck
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Berkeley police officers are having a busy night Saturday, with a stabbing on Russell Street followed by an unrelated crash involving a vehicle and bike on Ashby Avenue.

Lt. Alyson Hart, BPD watch commander, said the stabbing, at Russell and King Street, did not appear to be life-threatening.

A reader reported “Multiple police and ambulances on Russell” just before 7:35 p.m.

The crash, at Ashby and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, came in at about 7:40 p.m. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley crime log: Teen nabbed after robbery attempt and car crash, drinking at Cal, elder abuse arrest, more

The Brower Center evacuation. Photo: Jay Rooney
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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 Aug. 19-25, there were reports of four robberies17 burglaries16 assaults or batteriesno weapon-involved calls and three felony sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 11 stolen vehicles20 disturbances and 31 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A robbery, three burglaries and a vehicle theft, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 19-25 round-up below several more recent items.

Recent public safety news

OAKLAND TEEN ARRESTED AFTER ROBBERY ATTEMPT An 18-year-old from Oakland was arrested after trying to rob someone outside the Starry Plough on Sunday night. BPD watch commander Lt. Alyson Hart said officers received good suspect and vehicle descriptions. A short time later, “an officer tried to stop a vehicle that matched the description. The vehicle did not stop and the officer followed it a short distance into Oakland before letting it go. As he was concluding his area check he saw that the vehicle had crashed and someone was running from the car. The suspect was caught and arrested several blocks away. This case is still very much in the early stages of the investigation.” Police arrested Isaac Rojas on suspicion of attempted robbery and resisting arrest; he could be sent to prison if convicted. Rojas is being held with a bail of $30,000 and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 20, according to Alameda County sheriff’s office records online.

ROBBERY ALERT There were two other robberies in Berkeley on Sunday, at 3:40 p.m. in the 1900 block of San Pablo Avenue, at 5 p.m. in the 1900 block of Shattuck.

DRINKING AT CAL BPD reported 551 alcohol-related citations, and 17 in-custody arrests during the last two weekends in August in the South Campus area as part of a coordinated effort with a number of other law enforcement agencies: “Citations were written for a number of offenses including Open Containers, Selling/Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor, Minor in Possession, and Possession of a Fake ID for the Purposes of Purchasing Alcohol. If cited for one of these offenses a person could face punishments which range from a fine, community service, to the loss of one’s driving privileges (depending on the offense) for up to a year. Arrests were made this year for Public Intoxication, Armed Robbery, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and Petty Theft.” Last year, which was described by BPD as a record year for enforcement, led to 423 arrests and citations. See last year’s Berkeleyside story describing the annual enforcement effort. Read more about drinking at Cal. … Continue reading »

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Man, 58, victim of attempted robbery in Berkeley

The downtown Berkeley Walgreens. Image: Google Maps
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A 58-year-old man outside the downtown Berkeley Walgreens was nearly robbed early Friday morning, authorities report.

According to a notice released by the University of California Police Department late Friday afternoon, the man was walking at 6:25 a.m. when the suspect tried to take his property.

“The suspect was unsuccessful and fled the area,” according to a UCPD statement. “The victim was not injured during the encounter.”

Police checked the area but could not find the suspect.

He was described as a 25-year-old black man with medium complexion and a thin build wearing a blue or gray shirt.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Update: Man taken to Highland with serious injuries after road rage assault; driver arrested

Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, 5:10 p.m. One man has been arrested after Thursday’s road rage incident in Berkeley that led to another man being taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Watch commander Lt. Dan Montgomery said one motorist drove into the other one just as he was exiting his vehicle following the dispute, which happened on Russell Street by Grove Park, west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Police are still investigating whether the other driver may also face arrest.

Montgomery said that, though there had been earlier reports of a possible firearm, no weapon was recovered. The driver who ultimately was arrested did remain on scene when police arrived.

No further information was immediately available but Berkeleyside will update this story if additional detail is provided.

Original story, 2:26 p.m. A motorist has been taken to the hospital with serious injuries after a two-car crash that may have stemmed from a verbal altercation in South Berkeley, authorities report. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Carjacking of older Berkeley woman ends with arrests

Berkeley police cruisers (file), April 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A woman described as elderly was nearly killed Tuesday evening in Berkeley during a carjacking that led to two arrests in Oakland on Wednesday morning, authorities report.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, the dispatch center got a report of a crash involving a vehicle and pedestrian at about 5:40 p.m. at California and Oregon streets in South Berkeley.

“Officers responded to the scene and found an elderly female victim on the ground with life-threatening injuries,” according to a statement released at 4 p.m. The woman was taken to the hospital for surgery for her injuries but is expected to survive.

BPD spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel said he could not release the woman’s age so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation. She is a Berkeley resident.

Initial information was challenging to get because of a language barrier, BPD reported.

Police later determined the incident was “more than a case of hit and run.”Continue reading »

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Police

Officers question leadership of Berkeley police chief

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said the public still has ample time to offer feedback. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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More than six years after taking the helm of the Berkeley Police Department, Chief Michael Meehan is facing serious criticism from within his own ranks, according to two internal emails he sent to employees earlier this month and numerous interviews with BPD staffers.

The criticisms focus on weak leadership, low morale, insufficient staffing and inconsistent communication. They were spelled out in surveys from 134 people, just over half the department, that included nearly 80 pages of written comments. Much of that focused on the chief.

“That direct feedback tells me that I am failing some members of this organization,” Meehan wrote in an Aug. 11 email to BPD employees. “That is unacceptable.”

The comments are “a strong wake-up call” about what many characterized as a “lack of leadership and clear vision for our agency,” the chief wrote. He sent the email, entitled “Priorities and Commitment,” at about 10:10 p.m. after two long days of involved discussions with his leadership team.

The survey responses reportedly included scathing critiques of Meehan’s leadership style, along with other frustrations faced by the rank and file. The results have not been made public — and Meehan says they won’t be — but the chief’s email messages about those responses offer a rare glimpse into the department’s inner workings.

Morale inside the department has sunk to what may be an all-time low, some officers have told Berkeleyside, and that stems largely from what many have said is the failure of the chief to advocate effectively for what his officers want. Berkeleyside has granted those officers anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of the department.

The chief’s emails were also shared with Berkeleyside by a BPD staffer on condition of anonymity. Meehan provided additional context regarding the messages, as well as staff concerns, during a lengthy conversation with Berkeleyside on Monday night.

In his remarks to Berkeleyside, the chief described the survey feedback as “a motivator” he says will drive him to improve. He offered insights on his view of department staffing, and described a range of efforts undertaken under his watch that he believes have made BPD a leader across a number of important areas, from training to recognize implicit biases to efforts to equip all officers with crisis intervention and de-escalation skills.

“Any leader, if they’re always listening and paying attention and trying to do better, it’s a pretty good start,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Man charged after attack, threats outside police station

Berkeley Police station. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A felon who violently attacked another man outside the Berkeley Police Department, and threatened to kill him if he was Jewish, has been charged with two felonies by the Alameda County district attorney’s office, authorities report.

The attack happened at 3:10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

According to court papers, 50-year-old William Sermon tried to choke the victim with both hands “and attempted to gouge the victim’s eyes out with his thumbs.”

Police said Sermon also threatened to kill the victim several times, “and stated that if the victim was at least twenty five percent Jewish he would kill him.”

The victim was cut above his right eye during the assault. He was still able to identify Sermon as his attacker after police tracked Sermon down the next day. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside and Wildfire team up for safety alerts

Firefighters transfer a victim to a gurney during a two-alarm fire on Dwight Way, near Telegraph Avenue. Photo: David Yee
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Last week, Berkeleyside let you know about Wildfire, a free mobile app that offers alerts on your cellphone about public safety news in Berkeley.

We at Berkeleyside are teaming up with Wildfire — a startup created by four recent UC Berkeley graduates — to push out our own news stories and other updates using the Wildfire app.

That means our readers can download the app to get cellphone push notifications from Berkeleyside about crime, fires and other public safety coverage.

(We’re also working on an email alert — for those who want breaking news and other time sensitive stories in their inbox — as well as a full site redesign that will prioritize the mobile experience).

Download the Wildfire app.

Nixle and the city’s emergency alert system, BENS, allow authorities to put out emergency broadcasts to the public by email, text and even phone. Those systems are critically important, and we encourage community members to sign up.

But they’re also one-way communications: There’s no way to respond or share information on the alerts that go out. And there are many public safety incidents that never prompt an official alert from authorities.

Now, those who want to be more plugged in to public safety news can download the Wildfire app, which also lets community members post their own reports if they notice incidents of concern.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime log: Police raid and drug bust, Northside prowler, library vandals sought, mail thieves spotted, RIP ‘AyeGee’

There was a crash at Ashby and Acton. Photo: William Fertman
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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 Aug. 12-18, there were reports of five robberiessix burglariesnine assaults or batteriestwo weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also seven stolen vehiclesnine disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two weapons calls, a vehicle theft and two vandalisms, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 12-18 round-up below.

[NB: The CrimeMapping dataset for Aug. 12-18 is incomplete. Berkeleyside has asked BPD for a fix. The Alameda County sheriff’s office is also having trouble with its Inmate Locator and online case tracking systems; a fix is expected by the end of the month, the agency has reported.]

Recent public safety news: Hot off the presses

ARMED ROBBERY NEAR CAMPUS Early Wednesday morning at 1:50, BPD reports there was an armed robbery at Blake and Dana: “Two suspects walked up behind the two victims and demanded their property while pointing handguns at them. The victims gave the suspects a wallet and cell phone,” and the robbers fled northbound on foot on Dana. The robbers were described as 25-year-old black men with thin builds, 5 foot 9 to 5 foot 11. They wore black hooded sweatshirts and jeans and were armed with handguns. (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.)

SOUTHSIDE BURGLARY ARREST On Wednesday afternoon, a reader asked Berkeleyside: “What’s going on with all of the cops on Bancroft and Telegraph?” UCPD Sgt. Sabrina Reich said, at about 1 p.m., staff in the Unit 3 student housing complex, at 2400 Durant, “reported a suspicious person who was seen in multiple residence halls.” UCPD officers tried to speak with the man but he ran into a nearby apartment complex where UCPD was able to detain him. Police identified the man as 25-year-old Wilford Hooper of Hercules. Reich said Hooper was found to be in possession of property stolen from Unit 3, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary, probation violation and a warrant out of Contra Costa County. He was taken to Berkeley Jail. He is being held in connection with misdemeanor indecent exposure, in addition to the other violations. Hooper’s next court appearance was not listed online.

PROWLER IN NORTH BERKELEY On Friday, Aug. 19, at about 9:30 a.m., BPD got reports of a prowler in the 2400 block of Virginia, followed by a similar report in the 1600 block of Euclid a short time later. A reader described to Berkeleyside “8 cop cars on Euclid between Virginia and Hilgard. With their guns out.” According to BPD, citizens helped police track the prowler’s flight path through the block and nearby backyards. Two people were detained but ultimately no one was arrested. BPD said, according to one report, a man had been masturbating in a common area of an apartment building. The case remains under investigation. “The citizens were helpful,” said watch commander Lt. Andrew Rateaver. “It is important for residents to know what is going on in their area.” (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.) … Continue reading »

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Crime

Convicted robber, with 15 prior felonies, back in court Tuesday after new Berkeley robbery

The Artist & Craftsmen Supply shop in Berkeley. Photo: Google Maps
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A man authorities say threatened to have a gun when he robbed a Berkeley art supply shop clerk is set to return to court Tuesday to find out if a judge will order him to stand trial.

Bruce Wayne Leslie, 65, was on probation and had “an extensive history of robberies” at the time of his arrest earlier this month, authorities said. He is being held on $1 million bail, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, Leslie entered the Artist & Craftsman Supply shop — at 2573 Shattuck Ave. — at about 4:15 p.m. Aug. 8 and demanded money from the register. He threatened to have a gun and told the assistant manager to “hurry up,” according to court papers.

“The assistant manager was afraid of Leslie hurting her and gave him money from the register,” police wrote.”Leslie grabbed the money from the assistant manager’s hand and walked out of the store.”

Another store staffer followed Leslie about four blocks south on Shattuck until police arrived. According to court papers, he “did not follow … orders and had to be forcefully stopped.” … Continue reading »

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Wildfire app aims to put safety alerts in public’s hands

Wildfire co-founders, from left to right: Hriday Kemburu (CEO and programmer), Tim Hyon and Jay Patel (programmers), and Vinay Ramesh (business). Photo: Jaskirat Gaelan
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[Editor’s note: Berkeleyside is teaming up with Wildfire to push out crime news notifications through Wildfire’s mobile app. Download the app and enable push notifications to get quick alerts about public safety news, and make sure to follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and Facebook for the latest information.]

With public safety news, speed can be of the essence. That’s why four recent UC Berkeley graduates have created a crime-alert app that lets people share information quickly and easily right from their phones about potentially dangerous situations.

The mobile app, which is free to download, is called Wildfire. It allows anyone to post information from their cell phones about crimes, car crashes, fires and other incidents of concern. For those familiar with the Waze app — where users share real-time traffic info — it’s a similar concept but it’s focused on public safety.

Download the Wildfire app.

Wildfire launched earlier this year but, now that students are coming back to the UC Berkeley campus for the fall semester, its founders are ramping up efforts to spread the word about its existence.

It’s not just for students. Anyone with a mobile phone can use it, though most of the app’s users — and most of its posts — are in the Berkeley area. The more people who use it to post about incidents, the more robust the app will become.

“There’s literally nothing like it,” said Caroline Winnett, executive director of UC Berkeley’s SkyDeck, which selected Wildfire earlier this summer to work in its startup accelerator as part of its six-month mentorship program. “There is no other app that does what Wildfire is trying to do, and it’s a much-needed solution that can really impact public safety.”

For those who simply want to see what’s happening around them, there’s a map with pins that show the locations of public safety incidents. Those who want to post alerts can easily do so too. The app, which is available for iPhone and Android platforms, sends push notifications to mobile phones so its users can quickly learn about public safety reports. There’s also a feature to allow emergency contacts to receive text alerts about incidents, even if they don’t have the app themselves. … Continue reading »

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